Santa Clarita and other Los Angeles County cities will be hosting the World Police and Fire Games next week, an international Olympic-style event that pits officers and firefighters head to head in physically-demanding athletic competitions.
Planning for The Games typically takes upward of seven years, but when Montreal, Canada had to back out of hosting, the Los Angeles Police Department took the reins and planned it in eight months.
There will be thousands of law enforcement and fire personnel competing in The Games, including 800 officers from LAPD alone.
Since part of The Games were hosted in Santa Clarita in 2008, the structures and venues were mostly ready for use for 2017, according to LAPD Senior Lead Officer Eric Mollinedo.
He described the process of putting the event together as “really crammed” and “a lot of work,” but said everyone is happy to participate.
“We will get to meet some of our heroes from around the world,” Mollinedo said. “It’s good to see some of our peers in a sports competition. Everyone is really excited.”
The competition is also a chance for departments to earn bragging rights while building comradery, both nationally and internationally, according to Mollinedo.
Events range from archery and bean bag toss to body building and the triathlon. Some of the competitors are former professional athletes, the senior lead officer said.
As for Mollinedo, he’ll be competing in several cycling competitions.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the City of Santa Clarita have played a part in the process as well, Mollinedo said.
Community members are welcome to attend to cheer on Los Angeles’ representatives in The Games.
“We encourage the public to come out and support some of their heroes,” he said. “We’d really like that.”
City officials helped in securing spots for the events to take place, especially by providing trails for cycling, City Communications Manager Carrie Lujan said.
“We are excited to welcome public safety heroes from around the globe to Santa Clarita to take on these challenging courses,” Lujan said. “The city has worked closely with organizers to provide event locations and staff for various cycling competitions.”
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputies will be playing a small part in The Games as well, according to Sergeant Michael Wright.
“We will be providing additional detachment to each of the venues and serving as goodwill ambassadors to do some friendly outreach,” Wright said.
The Santa Clarita events will begin on Sunday, Aug. 6 at 9 a.m. with the criterium, a circuit course bicycle race. This event will begin at 25128 Tibbits Avenue in Valencia.
On Monday, Aug. 7, the hill climb will begin at 8 a.m. on Ridge Route Road and Lake Hughes Drive.
Aug. 8, a Tuesday at 9 a.m., will mark the day Santa Clarita hosts the 11-mile timed trail in Acton Park at 3750 Syracuse Drive.
From Aug. 8 through 10, the Toughest Competitor Alive competition will be hosted at College of the Canyons.
Also at Acton Park, the 35.5-mile road race will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 9 at 9 a.m.
Closing out the Santa Clarita events, the 400-yard sprint competition will begin at 9 a.m. on Aug. 10 at Six Flags Magic Mountain.
For more information on the World Police and Fire Games, visit la17wpfg.com.