(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) The Show-Me State Games brought its “Torch Run” to St. Joseph Thursday afternoon for the fifth of 10 ceremonial runs to promote the series of state-wide sports competitions scheduled for this Summer.
Representatives of the Show-Me State Games gathered in front of the Pony Express Statue to kick off a campaign to draw attention to the 35-year-old Olympic-style sports festival.
More than 40 different sporting events will take place June 7-9, July 19-21 and July 26-28 in Columbia. Athletes of all ages and ability levels are invited to compete in the Show-Me State games. Last year, 28,000 people competed in various sports.
The Olympic-style event started in 1985 under then-Missouri Gov. John Ashcroft’s leadership as a way to encourage physical fitness. Since the Show-Me State Games is fashioned in an Olympic-style, it includes a torch-lighting ceremony.
Mayor Bill McMurray took part in Thursday's ceremony and said he was glad to represent the City and support a great event and organization.
Also taking part in the torch run event were four runners who took turns passing the torch among themselves as they ran a through the streets of downtown St. Joseph.
Anna Hargis represented the games sponsor Shelter Insurance Thursday afternoon. She said she was happy to show her support because as a mom, she has seen first-hand the role it has played in her son’s life.
“I'm a mom of a show-me state games athlete,” Hargis said. “I watched him win a metal a few years ago. There is nothing like that. I am just telling you as a parent, it was so exciting and I knew he was in a great, safe, family, fun competitive environment."
Future torch ceremonies will be held in Cape Girardeau, St. Louis, St. Charles, Jefferson City and Columbia, which will be the site of the games' official opening ceremonies on July 19.
More information is available at SMSG.org.