CoMo Sports: Show-Me Games Win First Place

Governor Jay Nixon shows good form in participating at the Show-Me State Games

In 1985, Columbia, Missouri hosted the first-ever Show-Me State Games. No big deal really, just a few days of sporting events and competitions for all ages to get out and enjoy the weather and maybe win a medal or two.

The inaugural Show-Me State Games drew more than 600 athletes from across the state. By the time the event celebrated it’s 25th Anniversary in 2009, the field of competitors had expanded to upwards of 37,000.

Sounds pretty big, right?

Well, it’s currently the BIGGEST state games festival in the United States of America.

Every summer, (for three weekends in June & July) boys, girls, men, women, old and young swoop into Columbia in mini-vans covered in self-made graffiti. During the month of June, 41 different events are offered in Columbia. 52 are offered throughout the year. Like “Pickleball”. What in the hell is “Pickleball”?!

Lots of basketball. Lots of football. Lots of baseball. Lots of softball. But that still leaves 37 OTHER events. The expansion of the Show-Me State Games has opened the door to so many new events that you would be hard-pressed to not find SOMETHING that you would have fun participating in and maybe even winning. Competitions that the Show-Me State Games offer in 2011 may surprise you…

Yes, you can bowl and play volleyball. Of course, there’s cycling and golf. Track & field, and soccer are obviously part of the Games. But what about Judo?

Yup. You can judo-chop your way to a Show-Me State Games medal. “Martial Arts” is it’s own seperate event, and is also offered, Daniel San.

Under-17 Girls Soccer team from Bolivar, Missouri celebrates winning Gold

Handball and kickball. Seriously, they offer kickball. You can dominate a round of mini-golf if that’s your pleasure. The always entertaining synchronized swimming is on the docket. Muscle-heads can enter the powerlifting competition and others can power-lift their partner in the ballroom dancing event. You can wrestle an opponent, or you can wrestle with a course in disc golf.

You can play tennis or you can play table tennis.

It’s become apparent that the Show-Me State Games will undoubtedly be celebrating a 50th Anniversary in a couple more decades. The popularity is unmatched by any other state in the Union and any bump in revenue for a local business is a nice buffer after the students leave town. All-day basketball tournaments usually make for a wonderful daycare and/or dating opportunity. Jokes, jokes.

Seriously, though. What in the hell is “Pickleball”?


  1. Tina Roselle says:

    We actually played pickleball in PE at my high school. I’d never heard of it before or since–until your post. It involves a plastic paddle, a plastic ball, and a low net, and the rules are sort of like a combination of badminton, ping pong, and tennis. I remember liking it because it was one of the few sports I didn’t suck at.

    • Jet Roberts says:

      Hahaha! That sounds awesome! I love badminton and ping pong! Did you play as a team or solo? Was the net on the ground (like tennis) or propped up (like badminton)?

      • Tina Roselle says:

        Each team had two players, but I think we played one on one, too. It’s been a while! I remember the net being low like in tennis, and it was hard to get used to the plastic racket/paddle and ball, but once we got it down, it was pretty fun in a weird sort of way. If it weren’t for the specific equipment, I would have assumed my PE teacher made it up. Who knew it was a real game?

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