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Competition highlights festivities

Bloch Park will be a busy hub of activity on Saturday as the Selma Police Athletic League, best known for its basketball team, is branching out to include other sports and reach a younger crowd.

The Selma PAL will host the Junior Olympic Skills Competition on Saturday at Bloch Park at 9 a.m. The competition is open to children age 8-to-13, and includes four events — basketball, soccer, tennis and track and field. The event is free to all participants.

“They get a chance to compete against people their own age,” said Det. Dorothy Cowan of the Selma Police Department. “Everybody wants to win a prize.”

All four sports will take place at different venues. Soccer will use Bloch Park, track will be at Memorial Stadium, tennis will be at the tennis courts and basketball will use the parking lot.

The Junior Olympic Skills Competition is a grassroots youth participation program that allows boys and girls, competing separately, the opportunity to showcase their athletic abilities. The program is designed to encourage youth participation in sports while promoting sportsmanship. 

Champions from this local qualifying event will advance to the regional competition in Gardendale for a chance to advance to the national finals in New Orleans. Participants may register in advance at the PAL Center or on the day of the event at Bloch Park.

However, the competition is only part of the first annual statewide May Day Youth Fest. Other activities include a step show, car show, battle of the bands and a “pull up your pants” competition.

“Whoever looks the best, they get a prize,” said Cowan. “We’re trying to get them to realize that it’s not cool to have their pants where they think it’s cool to have them.”

The skills competition is expected to run until 7 p.m. The other activities take place at varying times, beginning with the car show at noon, and carry an admission fee of $8 prior to Saturday and $10 on Saturday.