Story by Zoe Harmon, Staff Writer
Photo courtesy of Zoe Harmon
Grand Rapids’ best kept sports secret just wrapped up it’s 2016 Winter Games main weekend. The Meijer State Games of Michigan has been a division of the West Michigan Sports Commission for nearly six years and continues to gain in popularity.
The Meijer State Games of Michigan plays host to two major sporting events each year, the Winter and Summer State Games of Michigan. Both events host numerous sport competitions and are open to athletes of all ages and ability levels. Competitors from the ripe age of two to the golden age of 100 have competed in the Games, so nothing is out of the question.
Most recently, the 2016 Winter Games main weekend events were held all over Kent County. The weekend hosted 13 sporting events over a three-day span. Kicking off the main weekend was the Archery competition which brought in over 170 competitors and took all three days to complete.
Over the next two days events included: Basketball, BMX, Bowling, Darts, Disc Golf, Fencing, Karate, Quad Rugby, Racquetball, Shooting Sports, Volleyball, and Wrestling.
In addition, Virtual Rowing has been taking place since February 1. Athletes were welcome to register and send in their scores until February 21.
The 2016 Winter Games officially began January 30 and 31, with the Cross-Country Skiing events taking place near Traverse City, Michigan. In the following two weekends, both the UltraFit Team Challenge and the USA Cycling Michigan State Fatbike Championships took place in Grand Rapids.
Despite the unusual weather, the 2016 Winter Games were a success. Athletes from across Michigan and neighboring states competed in their events and took away gold, silver, and bronze medals. Even those who did not medal had a good time, because that’s really what the Games are all about.
Executive Director, Eric Engelbarts commented, “The Winter Games give Michigan residents of all ages and ability levels the opportunity to compete in large event and stay active year-round.”
Next on the agenda is the 2016 Summer Games, which plays host to over 37 sports. For a full list of winter and summer sports visit www.stategamesofmichigan.com.
Another extremely exciting event on the agenda is the 2017 State Games of America in which medal recipients from around the United States are invited to Grand Rapids to participate in their sports. As residents of the state, Michigan athletes are eligible to participate whether they have won a medal or not.
The State Games of America are expected to host over 50 sports and will take place from August 3-6, 2017. This event will be a huge revenue boost for Grand Rapids and will give athletes a rare opportunity to compete against athletes from around the country.
A huge variety of sports will be a part of the Games, so all athletes should consider competing. For the most up-to-date State Games of America information, visit www.stategamesofamerica.com.
About the writer…
Zoe Harmon is in her final year at Aquinas College, majoring in Sports Management/Business Administration and minoring in Communication. Zoe is a member of the Sports Management Club where she serves on the board as Treasurer.She is also a Disney College Program Alumni after spending 7 months in Orlando. Zoe has a great passion for travel and health/fitness and in her free time, she enjoys hiking adventures, biking, and spending time with her friends and family.