best gymnastics awards anywhere

by Rick McCharles, editor of the Gymnastics Coaching blog

The Great West Gym Fest competition in Idaho has the best awards system I’ve ever seen. Awards are as important to the organizers as the competition itself.

First, they have a wonderful space with Lake Coeur d’Alene as a backdrop. It’s beautifully lit and decorated. Seating for parents is comfortable.

Great West Gym Fest awards

It’s easy to set an impressive stage in the beautiful Coeur d’Alene Resort, one of the advantages of hosting a meet in a hotel.

Great West Gym Fest

When kids finish competing they move immediately to the Awards room. On arrival a video of their competition is already playing. A roving cameraman was careful to get some footage of every competitor.

Great West Gym Fest awards

The video keeps kids and parents entertained until everyone arrives. Scores are ready by that time too, done correctly and promptly. (Scoring is the biggest potential disaster in other meets.)

The video is stopped. An Olympian introduced by a skilled M.C., this year and last it was Scott Crouse from Texas. Scott’s short inspirational speech is very much geared towards the parents.

Next, the Olympian takes over. Here’s 2004 Olympic Floor Champ Kyle Shewfelt telling kids stories about his days as an age group gymnast. Certainly Kyle was one of the best of the 40 Olympians to take on this role over the past 9yrs.

The Olympian next gives a plaque and personally shakes hands with every single athlete.

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Organizers divide huge age groups into age divisions of about 10 kids each. (born March, 1999, for example) Gymnasts all get an award on every apparatus.

Placements are acknowledged by sticky tags that are added to the individual plaques. For example, if you finish 3rd on Beam in your small age group category, you get a 3rd place sticky. Announcing results and distributing those tags is fast and efficient. And done in a fun and encouraging way.

Courtney Kupets at Great West Gym Fest 2010

When all awards have been handed out, there is an additional set of different (bigger) trophies given for OVERALL COMBINED. We might have 6 different age divisions of Level 6 girls, for example, combining those to find out who had the highest vault score from all ages of Level 6.

This takes time, but is worth it, I feel. It rewards the very best kids in the meet.

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Finally, the Bears. The Great West Gym Fest is famous for hand carved bear and moose statues given out only for Team Competition.

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You’ll find these bear statues in gyms all over the U.S.A. and Canada.

Olympians enjoy this meet. They are not overworked. Raj Bhavsar has been an Olympic celebrity at events in 8 nations since Beijing. He felt this was his most enjoyable event yet.

Courtney Kupets at Great West Gym Fest 2010

Kids have plenty of opportunity to meet and get photographs with their favourite Olympians. This year the Olympians Ice Cream Social was held out on a boat on the lake. Nice.

Trust me, this is only a brief overview of the elaborate awards system put in place by meet organizer Dave Adlard. There’s much, much more. Too much to cover here. But leave a comment if you have any questions.

Great West Gym Fest BIG SHOW

The top finishers in Level 8, 9 and 10 “competed” in the unique and spectacular BIG SHOW Finals on Saturday Night. It was a hoot.

Great West Gym Fest 2010

On request, I’ve posted about 20min of video from the start of the meet (but no routines) on YouTube.

Gymnastics BIG SHOW Intro 2010 – Great West Gym Fest: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Compare last year’s BIG SHOW highlights video.

RESULTS – Great West Gym Fest 2010

Files should open on your computer in PDF format.

Session 1 Level 7 All
Session 1 Level 7 Jr A
Session 1 Level 7 Child
Session 1 Level 7 Jr B
Session 1 Level 7 Sr A
Session 1 Level 7 Sr B
Session 1 Level 7 Team

Session 2 Level 7 All
Session 2 Level 7 Child
Session 2 Level 7 Jr A
Session 2 Level 7 Jr B
Session 2 Level 7 Sr A
Session 2 Level 7 Sr B
Session 2 Level 7 Team

Session 3 Level 8 All
Session 3 Level 8 Jr A
Session 3 Level 8 Jr B
Session 3 Level 8 Sr A
Session 3 Level 8 Sr B
Session 3 Level 8 Team

Session 4 Level 8 All
Session 4 Level 8 Jr A
Session 4 Level 8 Jr B
Session 4 Level 8 Sr A
Session 4 Level 8 Sr B
Session 4 Level 8 Team

Session 5 Level 9 All
Session 5 Level 9 Jr A
Session 5 Level 9 Jr B
Session 5 Level 9 Sr A
Session 5 Level 9 Sr B
Session 5 Level 9 Team

Session 6 Level 10 All
Session 6 Level 10 Child
Session 6 Level 10 Jr
Session 6 Level 10 Sr
Session 6 Level 10 Team

Session 7 Level 6 All
Session 7 Level 6 Child A
Session 7 Level 6 Child B
Session 7 Level 6 Jr A
Session 7 Level 6 Jr B
Session 7 Level 6 Sr A
Session 7 Level 6 Sr B
Session 7 Level 6 Team

Session 8 Level 5 All
Session 8 Level 5 Child
Session 8 Level 5 Jr A
Session 8 Level 5 Jr B
Session 8 Level 5 Sr A
Session 8 Level 5 Sr B
Session 8 Level 5 Team

Session 9 Level 5 All
Session 9 Level 5 Child
Session 9 Level 5 Jr A
Session 9 Level 5 Jr B
Session 9 Level 5 Sr A
Session 9 Level 5 Sr B
Session 9 Level 5 Team

Session 10 Big Show Level 8
Session 10 Big Show Level 9 Jr
Session 10 Big Show Level 9 Sr
Session 10 Big Show Level 10 Jr
Session 10 Big Show Level 10 Sr

Session 11 Level 4 All
Session 11 Level 4 Child A
Session 11 Level 4 Child B
Session 11 Level 4 Jr A
Session 11 Level 4 Jr B
Session 11 Level 4 Sr A
Session 11 Level 4 Sr B
Session 11 Level 4 Team

Session 12 Level 4 All
Session 12 Level 4 Child
Session 12 Level 4 Jr A
Session 12 Level 4 Jr B
Session 12 Level 4 Sr A
Session 12 Level 4 Sr B
Session 12 Level 4 Team

Session 12 Level PO-Rookie
Session 12 Level PO-Novice
Session 12 Level PO-Adv Jr
Session 12 Level PO-Adv Sr