This year Nebraska is hosting the State Games of America. We have a record - breaking 14,000 participants and counting, more than any other year by far. We also have the most sports competing with a whopping 67. People from all over the country are coming here to compete. A majority of the participants are from Nebraska but anyone who got a medal in their state are eligible to play here. The Nebraska Sports Council Executive Director Dave Mlnarik exclaims that the state games event is "loosely patterned after the Olympics, it's a multi-sport festival. The main difference between us and the Olympics is we are for all ages and all abilities."
Over the weekend of the 17th, water - skiing was one of the first sports to start the state games. One of the competitors was over 80 years old, and that makes for a great, inspiring story. The weekend of the 24th began a lot of other sports including pocket billiards which I got to witness first hand. I am a part of a summer journalism class that actually does media coverage for the State Games. I had the pleasure to meet the director for the billiards tournament and some of the competitors. The director, Keith Stewart mentioned he had people coming from Iowa, Oklahoma, Colorado and many other states for the singles tournament the following weekend.
Having so many people visiting the state of Nebraska not only to compete but family and fans of the competitors is going to be great revenue for us! They are expecting a 25 million dollar economic impact during these sporting events including direct and indirect spending. They came up with these numbers by comparing the seven million dollar impact we get from the Husker football games and multiplying that by the number of competitors this year.
This is going to be one of the biggest if not the biggest event in the state of Nebraska. Thousands of people coming from all over the country to participate in these games is pretty amazing. What people love to do and all coming together to compete. Like the state games of America motto this year, "More Competition. More Fun."