Show-Me State Games to kick off 37th year with opening ceremonies on July 16

Boonville Daily News

The 37th annual Show-Me State Games is just around the corner with opening ceremonies scheduled for Friday, July 16 at Mizzou Arena in Columbia.

This year’s ceremony will start at 7 p.m. and is free and open to the public and will be filled with lots of fun and entertainment.

The opening ceremony will feature the parade of athletes, where each athlete will have the opportunity to represent their sport.

The annual torch run and lighting of the cauldron are two traditions of the Show-Me State Games Opening Ceremony that are similar to the actual Olympics’ Opening Ceremony. The Show-Me State Games’ torch is lit and run through various cities across Missouri, much like the Olympic torch is paraded through the host country. This year the Shelter Insurance Torch Run stopped in Springfield, Kansas City, St. Joseph, Cape Girardeau, St. Louis and St. Charles. In previous years the Show-Me State Games has had numerous different Olympians and prominent figures light the cauldron at the conclusion of the torch run.

A total of 34 sports will make up the Show-Me State Games, which will be held this year on July 16-18 and July 23-25.

Those sports are: archery-3D; archery-target; baseball; basketball; bowling; cross-country; cycling; darts; disc golf; fencing; football 7 vs. 7 (adult); football (youth tackle); golf; gymnastics; handball; ice hockey; judo; martial arts; mini golf; mountain biking; powerlifting; road race/race walk; rugby; shooting-muzzle loading; shooting-rife and pistol; shooting-trap and skeet; soccer; softball; tennis; track and field; triathlon/duathlon; ultimate; volleyball; and wrestling. 

The Show-Me State Games is to provide all Missourians the opportunity to participate in activities of health, fitness, family and fun.


The Show-Me State Games is a non-profit program of the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Health and is hosted by the University of Missouri.


On May 4, 1982, Governor Kit Bond names 19 Missourians to become the first Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Health.

Dr. William C. Allen, chief of arthroscopic surgery at the University of Missouri Medical Center, was named chairman of the group, which Gov. Bond charged “with the responsibility of encouraging and promoting physical fitness and health for Missourians of all ages.”

Two years later, the Council, searching for an impact project, came up with the plan to join other states in the state games program.


The Show-Me State Games is a statewide amateur sports festival that welcomes all Missourians regardless of age or ability. The purpose of the Games is to provide top-quality amateur competition in a wide range of activities.

The Show-Me State Games may have started small in 1984 with about 600 participants. However, it has now grown to be the largest state games in the nation. The 2019 Summer competition offered more than 40 sports and had more than 20,000 participants. Out of the 114 counties in Missouri, 112 had representation in the 2017 Games.

As the Games have continued to grow, it is now a year-round event. In addition to the summer games, the Show-Me State Games schedule includes two Hoopin’ It Up Basketball events, Crappie Fishing tournament, Shelter Insurance Torch Run, 3 vs. 3 soccer tournaments in both the fall and summer, the University of Missouri Children’s Hospital Pumpkin Fun Run, the Audrey Walton Youth Leadership Conference and several other events with the goal of promoting health, fitness, family and fun for all Missourians.


In the Olympic tradition, gold, silver and bronze medals will be awarded to the top three finishers in each event.

Amateur Status

Past professional athletes are eligible to participate in the sport of their profession if they have not been under contract in the two years prior to the date of competition.

Support Base

The Show-Me State Games funding is provided from four different avenues, with the largest being corporate sponsorships and entry fees. The SMSG relies on fundraisers and merchandising for the remainder of the funding. The Games are also made possible because of more than 600 volunteers.


Participants in the SMSG must meet at least one of the following requirements:

*Reside in Missouri for at least 30 days prior to the date of competition

*Attend college in the state of Missouri

*Be stationed on a military base in Missouri

*Athlete/Parents must earn a living in Missouri