Show-Me-State Games encouraging statewide athlete involvement

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JEFFERSON CITY - The Show-Me State Games (SMSG), hosted in athletic facilities around Columbia, kicked off at the state Capitol Friday.

Athletes participated in a mile-long torch run in Jefferson City to celebrate the start of this year's competition.

The Show-Me State Games is an Olympic-style sports festival with more than 40 sports for all ages and ability levels, according to the group's website.

Emily Lorenz helped coordinate the festival's opening events. Lorenz said the organizers brought back the torch run last year to draw in more participation from rural areas of the state.

"It's been an awesome opportunity to travel throughout the state, and really gain awareness of the games throughout the state," Lorenz said. "And encourage people to come right here and be a part of them."

The organizers will also hold a torch run in Columbia, where a few hundred athletes will travel to the Mizzou Arena. The opening ceremony will be held at the Mizzou Arena at 7 p.m. Friday.

Although the competitions run through the weekend, basketball, baseball, soccer and tennis competitions started Friday according to Lorenz. Another coordinator said this year's games will bring significantly more participants than in previous years.

The SMSG are now the largest state games in the nation, according to a news release from the group. Lorenz attributes the success to the welcoming atmosphere of the games.

"Show-Me State Games is open to all Missourians regardless of age or ability level so we really encourage all people to take part in whether it's a team sport or an individual sport, whether it's competitive or recreational, volunteer opportunities," Lorenz said. "There really is something for everybody."

In addition to the summer games, the SMSG holds events year-round to promote health, fitness, family and fun.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Show-Me State Games.