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New Mexico Sports Town of the Year 2004

Las Cruces Is Sport Illustrated's Sports Town Of Year
-- Friday, March 26, 2004 at 11:27

Sports Illustrated (SI) magazine has chosen Las Cruces as New Mexico's Sports Town of the Year. The magazine will feature Las Cruces in its May 24 issue, which hits newsstands on May 19.

Sports Illustrated and the National Recreation and Parks Association have teamed up to celebrate SI's 50-year anniversary by making 50 awards, one for each of the states in the country, for the top sports towns.

The benefits to the winners are coverage in an issue of Sports Illustrated; a cash stipend for a sports-related project; a road sign depicting the town as the winner of the SI 50th Anniversary Sports Town Program; and special recognition in a local ceremony.

"The credit for this program lies with the Recreation Section staff," said James Rivera, Las Cruces Recreation Manager who is currently on active duty with the U.S. Army. It was the staff that brought this award to the attention of the Recreation Section's administration. The award application had to be researched and submitted last May. The community deserves credit for this award."

"We chronicled the youth leagues and the school programs, all the programs that have been developed over the years, in submitting this application. There was a tremendous amount of information. This award is a testament to the success of all the youth and school programs that have been successful on the local, state, and national levels. They have developed great programs," Rivera added.

"But most of all, this award would not be possible without the support of the community, the City Council, all the leagues and associations' leadership and volunteers," Rivera concluded.

Sports Town winners are chosen by a panel composed of NRPA members, as well as SI Staff from applications received.

Criteria used in making the selection included:

• How a town provides, administers, or facilitates quality sports within its town

• The town's sports philosophy

• What are a town's policies and procedures for standards of conduct, inclusion and participation, volunteers, and sports safety

• A Town's sports education and training policies and practices for volunteers, coaches, parents, officials, and the opportunity for skills development

• What programs besides sports are incorporated in the town's youth development programs in order to promote unity, spirit, and understanding

• The community's commitment to parks and recreation resources, particularly capital improvements and a master plan regarding facilities and funding

• Innovations for community involvement in recreation programs

• The town's overall scope of programming

A ceremony marking Las Cruces' selection as New Mexico's Sports Town of the Year is anticipated near to the release of the May 24 SI issue.

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