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franklin county times

State Games opening ceremonies tonight

By Staff
OPENING PARADE  Participants in last year's State Games enjoy the parade of athletes in the opening ceremonies at Ray Stadium. This year's ceremonies start tonight at 7:30. File photo
By Fredie Carmichael/The Meridian Star
June 15, 2001
By nightfall tonight, a crowd of 10,000 athletes and family members are expected to fill Meridian Highs School's Ray Stadium for the opening ceremonies of the 2001 State Games of Mississippi.
Tonight marks the 10th consecutive year the ceremonies have been held at Ray Stadium. April Luke, executive director of the games, said even though she's attended all 10, it never gets old.
The gates open at 6 p.m. with ceremonies set to begin at 7:30. Tickets for the event will be available at the gate. Adults tickets are $8, and kids 12 and under are $4.
One addition to this year's ceremony is the reading of the athletes' oath. Past Mississippi Olympic medal winners are set to present the oath of good sportsmanship. Ralph Boston, Willye White and Mildrette Netter, all former Olympic medal runners, will be reading the oath.
The numbers rise
As State Games grows, so does the crowd of supporters. "With the athletes comes the family," Luke said. "So the more we grow in the number of competitors, naturally our crowd will get bigger. We're expecting a huge crowd for this year's games."
A family affair
Luke says that the family affair kind of atmosphere is great for the Father's Day weekend. "It couldn't fall on a better weekend." Luke said.
Not all the family members just come for support  many come to compete in the games themselves. That is especially true in the running events, according to Luke.
Luke challenges anyone who hasn't witnessed a State Games yet to do so this weekend. "If you've never experienced one before then make sure to be there this year," Luke said. "I promise you it will be something that they won't soon forget."
Fredie Carmichael is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3228, or e-mail him at fcarmichael@themeridianstar.com.