Employees of Salt Lake area companies will be able to compete in a variety of athletic events again this summer when the third annual Corporate Games begin in July.

But the popularity of some events may mean companies will not get those they want if they wait too long to sign up, program officials warned.Sponsored by the Deseret News, KSL Radio, American Express and Hardee's, the games begin July 29 and continue through Aug. 20. Deadline for registration is July 13, but companies will be limited and accepted in some events only on a first-come basis, according to Chuck Dunford, games director.

Under the direction of the Salt Lake City Parks and Recreation Dept., the games offer competition in events ranging from softball and archery to running and rifle shoot.

All businesses in the metropolitan area are eligible for competition in divisions based on the number of employees. Division I is for companies with 100 or less employees; division II for 101 to 500, and division III for those over 500. Registration fees are $220, $440 and $660, respectively.

Events include archery open; 9.2-mile men's and women's bicycle race; coed 5K road race; men's and coed golf; horseshoes open; rifle shoot open; men's and coed softball; men's, women's and coed swimming; men's, women's and coed tennis; men's, women's and coed track & field; trap shoot open; and men's and coed volleyball.

However, companies may select only a limited number of events although all will compete in the tug-of-war and obstacle course on the last day. In addition to the required two events, Division I companies may select a maximum of four others, Division II companies may select an additional 10, and those in division III may chose 16.

Employees entered in the games must be permanent workers who reside in Utah and on the payroll for at least 30 days at 20 hours a week, or retired employees who are receiving company benefits.

All events are held on Saturdays or after 5:30 p.m. weekdays. After three weeks of participation, an awards ceremony will be held at Derks Field with food, music and a slide presentation recapping the activities.

Companies interested in participating may call the Salt Lake City Parks and Recreation Dept., 972-7800.