Lake of the Ozarks, MO. - Central Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks Tri-County Lodging Association learned on October 18 that the Lake area has been awarded the 2020 Can-Am Police Fire Games. After being named the host for the 2018 games in April, the Lake now has the distinct honor of being the first-ever host of consecutive Can-Am Games.
"We are absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to host back-to-back Can-Am Games," said Lagina Fitzpatrick, director of sales for the Lake of the Ozarks Tri-County Lodging Association. "It truly is a testament to what a great destination the Lake of the Ozarks is and what an outstanding community we have."

The Can-Am (Canadian-American) Games is an Olympic-style sporting event featuring over 50 different competitive categories including archery, basketball, cycling, fishing, golf, ice hockey, shooting, swimming, weightlifting, wrestling and many others. The Can-Am Games was started in 1977 to promote physical fitness and camaraderie among law enforcement, fire service, emergency medical service (EMS), protective services personnel and related agencies across the two countries.

This achievement has been a long time in the making. Three years ago, Fitzpatrick recruited some important friends at the Lake and assembled the 25-member Lake of the Ozarks Can-Am Police-Fire Games Committee to 
pursue hosting this major multi-national event. After many hours of meetings and planning to put all the pieces in place, Fitzpatrick, along with Osage Beach Fire Chief Jeff Dorhauer and their committee, first submitted a bid in 2013 to potentially host the 2018 Can-Am Games. 

Initially, the 2018 Can-Am Games were awarded to a location in Virginia with the Lake coming in a close second, so the Lake committee decided to submit another bid to host the 2020 games. Three weeks later, the local Lake committee received a phone call in April 2015 stating that, due to financial and logistical  issues, the Virginia community had to pull out and the Lake of the Ozarks would host the 2018 Can-Am Games. All involved were ecstatic but were still hopeful that the Lake could host the 2020 games as well.

After several more months of meetings, planning and a second site visit, those hopes became reality on October 18 as the Can-Am Police Fire Games Board of Directors decided to do something they've never done in their 38-year existence: they awarded back-to-back games to the same host destination.

According to Bill Merrylees, Can-Am Games CEO, the decision of his board of directors was unanimous. "The bid committee from the Lake of the Ozarks demonstrated the necessary experience, community support and attitude to successfully accomplish the task of hosting back-to-back games. It's a wonderful community. We are very excited for our athletes to experience this great destination and all the different activities available to them."

"This was the end of a three-year process that began with the hopes of securing this event for 2018. Only recently did we think it would be possible to host this event consecutively," said Osage Beach Fire Chief Dorhauer. "As a community, we are lucky to have a group such as Tri-County Lodging Association that dedicates so much time and effort to promote this area. It was their dream, vision and leadership that are responsible for bringing these games to the Lake area."

Fitzpatrick feels that hosting the Can-Am Games will be a great experience for the international competitors as well as the Lake area as a whole. "Combined, these events will have a huge economic impact for the Lake of the Ozarks of over $8 million and we look forward to working with the entire community on making these games a hugely successful event," Fitzpatrick said.

"This has truly been a labor of love for me and a fantastic example of what can happen when our community comes together to achieve a common goal. I'm very grateful the Can-Am Board of Directors recognized the passion we have for our community and emergency service personnel," Fitzpatrick continued. "I would like to thank Chief Dorhauer, Captain Kelly Luttrell of the Camden County Sheriff's, Office, Sergeant John Stephens of the Camden County Sheriff's Office and Chief Todd Davis of the Osage Beach Police Department for taking this journey with me and for their dedication to our tourism community."

The 2018 and 2020 Can-Am Police-Fire Games are each expected to bring roughly 1,200 participants to the Lake from across the US and Canada. The 2018 games are slated for June 25 through July 1 and the 2020 games are scheduled for June 15-21. The various competitive events will take place throughout the entire Lake of the Ozarks area with Tan-Tar-A Resort serving as the host hotel. Past locations for this multi-day event, which takes places every other year, include Regina, Saskatchewan; Milwaukee, Wis.; Spokane, Wash.; London, Ontario; St. Cloud, Minn.; and York County, Pa. The 2016 games will be held in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

The Can-Am Games is a non-profit event. All proceeds from the Lake of the Ozarks Can-Am Police-Fire Games will go to Special Olympics Missouri. "Special Olympics Missouri is elated to be partnering with the 2018 and 2020 Can-Am Games at the Lake of the Ozarks," says Mark Musso, president and CEO of Special Olympics Missouri. "We are confident these will be the best games to-date and look forward to assisting the games' host committee with the resources of our 33,000 volunteers, our state-wide sport commissioners and event management staff."

For more information on the Can-Am Police-Fire Games, please visit For more information on the Lake of the Ozarks, please visit

Local Media Contacts for Can-Am Games:
Lagina Fitzpatrick, Director of Sales
Lake of the Ozarks Tri-County Lodging Association
Phone: 573-348-1599

Jeff Dorhauer, Fire Chief
Osage Beach Fire Protection District
Phone: 573-348-1221

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For additional media assistance on the Lake of the Ozarks, please contact The Beenders Walker Group at 573-636-8282, or email Marjorie Beenders, Jo Duncan or Kyle Stewart.
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