ST. CLOUD -- Area veterans will be competing in the first-ever VA Summer Games event tomorrow (Saturday) in St. Cloud.

Over 50 veterans will take part in events including a one-mile run, weightlifting, billiards and horseshoes.

"We're pretty excited about it," says Barry Venable of the St. Cloud VA. "This is an opportunity for our veterans to engage in some competitive fitness activities and we think it's going to be a great event for them."

Venable says the enthusiasm shown by veterans who have signed up to compete has been promising.

"The main purpose is to enhance the environment that our veterans live in," Venable says. "In addition to the games, they've been engaged in training activities for several weeks now."

Venable says the VA hopes the Summer Games event will catch on as something to look forward to each year.

"Getting veterans involved with each other and providing an opportunity for fitness is the primary motivation for this event," Venable says. "From that standpoint, we think that we're going to be successful."

"It's a competitive and fun event that will hopefully brighten their lives and improve their health and well-being."

The VA Summer Games will begin Saturday with an opening ceremony at 9:00 a.m. and continue into the afternoon.

The event is free and open to the public and Venable says the games are also open to all veterans enrolled at the St. Cloud VA (not just inpatients). Registration for the games begins at 8:00 a.m. Saturday.