The calendar says the official first day of summer is June 21. For Roswell Mayor Dennis Kintigh however, it will start Memorial Day weekend during the Hike It and Spike It flag football tournament.
People know that Roswell hosts multiple events in a given year and for Kintigh, the charity flag football tournament, which celebrates its 23rd anniversary this year, is probably the biggest one in the community.
“It’s bigger than the UFO Festival and it’s bigger than anything else we do as far as an event we do,” Kintigh said. “We have people coming from all over filling hotel rooms, eating at restaurants. These are all the kind of things you want to see.”
Kintigh feels that May is an active month for Roswell with graduations and Cinco de Mayo also going on.
“This is the crowning event,” Kintigh said of Hike It and Spike It. “It really ends the month and begins the summer.”
Kintigh admits that it’s hard to describe Hike It and Spike It and what it means to Roswell.
“I mean it’s like a massive party for the entire family,” Kintigh said. “It’s huge and I’ve heard estimates of almost half the total population of Roswell is out there (at Cielo Grande Recreation Complex) during the weekend, which is incredible.”
Kintigh has lived in Roswell since 1992 and he said he didn’t really notice Hike It and Spike It until nearly a decade ago.
“So when I first got really focused on it was probably about five or six years ago,” Kintigh said. “You can go out there and just walk around all day long and watch those kids play football. It’s just a fun and relaxing family-oriented time for two solid days.”
Hike It and Spike It also provides an economic shot in the arm for Roswell’s city government.
“Lodger’s tax, which is money from motels, we can use it for promoting events, which we plow money into this event,” Kintigh said. “As far as gross receipts tax, that’s the bread and butter for this community. Gross receipts tax which is what you spend when you to go the hardware store, Target or Walmart. That’s tax or the city’s portion is what pays for firemen, paving streets, parks and recreation, those all come out of the general fund and if we don’t have gross receipts tax, those all suffer.”
For future Hike It and Spike It events, people will notice some changes near Cielo Grande as the new Roswell Aquatic and Recreation Center is expected to open soon. Kintigh said this will help the community.
“Sports are important for the development of our youth,” Kintigh said. “But, it’s also important to the development of physical fitness for our adults.”
Kintigh thinks adults who are active have less health problems than those who don’t participate in physical activity.
“I think this is going to be a great facility,” Kintigh said. “For one thing, the basketball and volleyball court area will be twice as large as it was at Yucca (Recreation Center). What we were told is it will be large enough for indoor soccer.”
It wasn’t long ago when some Roswell residents were upset with the closing of Yucca and the Cahoon Park pool. Both were shuttered due to age and the high cost of fixing them. Kintigh said there was limited usage for the outdoor pool. He feels the new aquatic center will be a major benefit for swimmers.
“Those same individuals who were able to do it three-and-a-half months out of the year will now be able to do it 12 months out of the year,” Kintigh said. “That’s a major step forward and hopefully by having that, that increases the participation.”
Kintigh thinks the aquatic center will also benefit a Roswell swim team.
“(The) Caprock Swim Team has produced some very talented young people and this will be an opportunity for them to host competitions here where you bring in folks from the area,” Kintigh said. “That’s exciting. That kind of ties back into the sporting activity or sports tourism if you will of bringing people in and then of course the outdoor pool that has more of a play function. With the indoor and outdoor(pools), we’ll be able to get the young kids into swim lessons and make them water safer.”
Kintigh thinks that everything around Cielo Grande will help boost the quality of life in Roswell and that’s something that could attract more participants for future Hike It and Spike It events.