The first Tri-Ute Games were held in Towaoc in 2007 and consisted of just two sports and a few demonstrations.
The purpose of the games was to bring members of the Colorado and Utah-based Northern Ute, Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Ute tribes together and foster friendship.
The games have since grown to include basketball, volleyball, golf, archery, bowling, hand games, swimming, cross country and the Ultimate Ute Warrior Challenge.
Last week, there were over 400 competitors from Towaoc, Ignacio, Fort Duchesne, Utah and White Mesa, Utah as the games returned to their original host site.
Ute Mountain Ute Recreation director Cedric Lang said that although there have been games added and the number of competitors has increased – the focus is still on building relationships.
“We’re not about winning first, second or third,” he explained. “We just want kids to interact through the sports, and when they aren’t playing, they may go and just hang out.”
He later described the Ultimate Ute Warrior Challenge – a 5K obstacle course that was the final competition on Wednesday – as the perfect way to conclude the 2016 games.
“All of the tribes got together at the end and they were cheering and encouraging each other,” he said. “We just all came together and ended the games that way.”
After their inception in 2007, and missing just one year, the 10th Tri-Ute Games are scheduled to take place next summer in Ignacio.