Opening ceremonies usher in athletes, new partner for Summer Games

CEDAR CITY- With over 10,000 athlete entries, 36 sport events and 31 years of history, the Utah Summer Games Opening Ceremonies showcased excitement, skill and progression Thursday night. The ceremonies also included a surprise announcement of the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies as new partner and title sponsor of the games beginning July 1.

The Larry H. Miller group of companies announced as the new title sponsor of the Utah Summer Games, Cedar City, Utah, June 8, 2016 | Photo by Kaleigh Bronson, St. George News
The Larry H. Miller Group of Companies was announced as the new title sponsor of the Utah Summer Games, Cedar City, Utah, June 8, 2016 | Photo by Kaleigh Bronson, St. George News

The “Larry H. Miller Utah Summer Games” will bring credibility and ensure a bright future for the games, 24-year Director of Summer Games Opening Ceremonies Mindy Benson said.

The ceremonies began with the national anthem, honoring the 10th anniversary of the return of the Utah Army National Guard’s Second Battalion, 222nd Field Artillery, or Triple Deuce, coming home safely from Iraq. Marches of both sponsors and athletes took their turns and then Gov. Gary Herbert gave his address, officially opening the games.

“This event is one of the reasons that a the slogan of the state of Utah is ‘Utah: The State of Sport.’ That is not just a slogan but a lifestyle for so many here in our state,” Herbert said, as he officially opened the Utah Summer Games.

The Utah Summer Games is a festival for athletes of all ages and abilities with the mission, according to its website, of celebrating excellence in the human spirit and healthy lifestyles through extraordinary sporting events and competition.

High School athletes from Cedar High School in the Parade of Athletes at the Opening Ceremonies for the Utah Summer Games, Cedar City, Utah, June 9, 2016 | Photo by Kaleigh Bronson, St. George News / Cedar City News
High School athletes from Cedar High School in the Parade of Athletes at the Opening Ceremonies for the Utah Summer Games, Cedar City, Utah, June 9, 2016 | Photo by Kaleigh Bronson, St. George News / Cedar City News

Competitive athletics is an important element of building lifelong skills, Herbert said.

Garage Can Band and Boogie Nights accompanied the ceremonies and the Jazz Bear and Jazz Dunk and Stunt teams performed.

New opportunities for the games come with the Larry H. Miller Group Companies partnership as the group’s companies include both the Utah Jazz pro basketball and Salt Lake City Bees minor league baseball teams.

“Serving as the title sponsor of the Utah Summer Games demonstrates our family’s and company’s commitment to the state, sports and healthy lifestyles,” Larry H. Miller Group owner Gail Miller said.

"Let the games begin!" Gov. Gary Herbert said at the Opening Ceremonies of the Utah Summer Games. Cedar City, Utah, June 9, 2016 | Photo by Kaleigh Bronson, St. George News / Cedar City News
“Let the games begin!” Gov. Gary Herbert said at the Opening Ceremonies of the Utah Summer Games. Cedar City, Utah, June 9, 2016 | Photo by Kaleigh Bronson, St. George News / Cedar City News

Summer Games Executive Director Casey McClellan said he is ecstatic with the Larry H. Miller Group partnership.

“We have been so fortunate to have hundreds of businesses and individuals contribute to our success over the decades and this new partnership with the Larry H. Miller brand will take us to new heights. I couldn’t be more excited about this wonderful new champion of the Games.”

Throughout the evening, local vendors served up kettle corn, snow cones and more for the benefit of a stadium full of enthusiastic families and sports fans.

“This event is so great for Cedar City, Iron County and Southern Utah University,” Summer Games volunteer Ron Cardon said. “It’s fun to see the exposure that each gets as well as seeing the athletes participate and have fun.”

Soccer competitors Logan Nelson and Tanner Street said playing with their team, having fun and winning medals is what they like about the games.

Information and resources for sports and schedules pertaining to the Utah Summer Games follow the photo gallery below.

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.

Competition began last week and continues through June 19.  Individual and team competitions are many during the games, including running, walking, cycling, basketball, baseball, tennis, gymnastics, equestrian and soccer, archery, a number of different of shooting disciplines and even bass fishing, bowling, disc golf, arm wrestling and pickleball, among others.


See more: 2016 Utah Summer Games get rolling with weekend events


Resources

Ed. note June 11, 9:45 a.m. CORRECTION:  Photo caption for singer of the national anthem is corrected to Jennifer Dillow, rather than Samantha Allred as originally stated; error from source.

See St. George News / Cedar City News coverage of Utah Summer Games in years past:

Email: kbronson@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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