State Games 30th Year Great Success
MERIDIAN, MS — The State Games of Mississippi ended its 30th year on a high note, with more than 5,000 athletes competing in events and 450-plus volunteers helping make every competition happen.
“Coming off of 2020 and the restrictions of the pandemic, we were gratified to have such a successful entry into our third decade,” said Carolyn Smith, executive director. “It has been amazing to see the levels of competition and the spirit of our sponsors and volunteers.”
The Coca-Cola Opening Ceremony returned in 2021, complete with the parade of athletes, the running of the State Games torch and the lighting of the flame in the State Games cauldron. The event was attended by more than 7,000 people.
Executive Director Smith received a special surprise at the Opening Ceremony — her two daughters came into town to honor her for her years of service and be with her when she announced her retirement. “It was a total surprise,” Smith said, “and made the event emotional and memorable. Even though I am retiring, I will always have room in my heart for the State Games of Mississippi.” Smith has served the Games in various capacities from the beginning in the 1990s; and has led the organization as Executive Director since 2009.
Sponsors made the games a great success in 2021. “We are extremely grateful to our sponsors for sticking with us last year and excited to be back for our 30th year with 41 sports,” said Director of Marketing and Development Bobbie Harmon.
New to the games in 2021 was Axe Throwing, which was held at Alley Cats Axe Company in Hattiesburg. As with many of the State Games events, different venues are used throughout the state.
“Plus we are able to keep our entry fees low, thanks to our sponsors,” said Harmon.
The ever-popular youth soccer competition, sponsored by Rush, brought top teams from across the state to Meridian. And All Star Baseball brought scouts from across the region to see the best players.
But it wasn’t all about big team sports. The Games brought Pickleball enthusiasts to the net, Cornhole experts armed with bean bags and Fencers doing their best to score points. With 41 sports, there was something for every amateur athlete to enter.
About the State Games of Mississippi
The State Games of Mississippi is now looking to its 31st year in 2022 offering top-level competition for Mississippi’s amateur athletes in more than 41 sports. In 2021, more than 5,000 athletes competed.
The State Games of Mississippi keeps its entry fees low primarily through the generous donations of sponsors, including Founding Gold Sponsors: Meridian Coca-Cola Bottling Company and Rush Hospital; and Gold Sponsors: BlueCross BlueShield of Mississippi, Meridian-Lauderdale County Tourism Bureau/Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors, Paul & Sherry Broadhead Foundation, Meridian Community College, the City of Meridian, Pearl River Resort, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, WTOK-TV, The Meridian Star and WMDN/WGBC-TV (The Meridian Family of Stations). For more information on the Games, call 601-482-0205 or visit the State Games of Mississippi website at www.stategamesofms.org.