LINCOLN —Opening Ceremonies for the 34th annual Cornhusker State Games (CSG) are set for 8 p.m. this Friday, July 20 at Seacrest Field in Lincoln. The entertainment lineup includes the parade of athletes, skydivers, fireworks, mascots, the NoWear BMX stunt team and the caldron-lighting by this year’s mystery torchlighter.
Most of the 10,000 registered athletes will be in action with 41 sports taking place this weekend, beginning with fencing, golf, ice hockey and volleyball taking place Friday. Five sports were held last weekend and 19 more will be staged on the Games final weekend July 28-29.
The top five sports in participation are basketball—884, volleyball—762, softball—692, ice hockey—629 and track and field—587. Participants range in age from two to 90 and come from 22 states and more than 300 Nebraska towns.
New sports this year include rowing, which was held last weekend, Ninja Challenge which takes place Saturday, July 21 at Lincoln East High School and Freestyle BMX, which will be held Saturday at the NoWear BMX compound near Unadilla. The Ninja Challenge course is open to the public through Friday this week.
Officials announced today that CSG Open Water Swimming Director Molly Nance, who on May 17th became the only woman to successfully swim the 21-mile St.Lucia channel, will lead the Oath of Athletes.
Other honorees include retired Hall of Fame football coach Gene Suhr, who will serve as Parade Marshal and the Games’ Honorary Chairman Rob Rhodes, President of the Nebraska Medical Association. U.S. Congressman Jeff Fortenberry, Nebraska Lieutenant Governor Mike Foley and Nebraska National Guard Adjutant General Daryl Bohac will be among the dignitaries on hand as well.
The Nebraska Brass Band, based in Omaha, will perform the national anthem, and the Nebraska National Guard will provide flag bearers and the color guard. KOLN-KGIN evening anchors Bridget Fargen, Kevin Sjuts and Bill Schammert will serve as emcees and Chris Lofgreen is the PA announcer.
Opening Ceremonies will be preceded Friday by SportFest at Lincoln East High School, with athlete meal-serving, EuroBungee, helicopter/firetruck exhibits and vendor expo from 4:30 – 7 p.m., a freestyle BMX performance and Ninja meet-and-greet at 5 p.m. and the Ninja celebrity showcase at 6 p.m. Athletes will stage for the parade of athletes in the park from 7:15-8 p.m.
Many sports are still accepting participants. Those interested can view openings and register at CornhuskerStateGames.com.
The Nebraska Sports Council, which conducts the Cornhusker State Games, is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization whose mission is to provide quality athletic competition for athletes of all ages and abilities and promote healthy and active lifestyle choices. Learn more at NebraskaSportsCouncil.com.