LINCOLN, Neb. - Opening Ceremonies for the 35th annual Cornhusker State Games are set for 8 p.m. this Friday, July 19 at Seacrest Field in Lincoln. The entertainment lineup includes the parade of athletes, skydivers, fireworks, mascots, the Flippenout trampoline team and the caldron-lighting by this year’s mystery torchlighter.
New this year: athletes marching in the Parade of Athletes are automatically entered into a drawing for major prizes including a 55-inch flat-screen TV, $250 gift cards to Scheels and Gateway Mall, five $100 Scheels gift cards and five $50 Scheels gift cards.
Most of the 10,000 registered athletes will be in action with 41 sports taking place this weekend, beginning with fencing, golf, ninja activities, skydiving and volleyball taking place Friday. Seven sports were held last weekend and 22 more will be staged on the Games’ final weekend July 26-28.
New sports this year include cornhole, which takes place Saturday, July 20 at the Springfield Community Center, miniature golf, July 20 at Adventure Golf Center in Lincoln and kart racing, July 27 at Tuxedo Park in Crete.
Opening Ceremonies honorees include retired Hall of Fame wrestling coach Norm Manstedt, who will serve as Parade Marshal and the Games’ Honorary Chairman Jeff Maul, Executive Director of the Lincoln Convention and Visitors Burueau. Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird, Miss Nebraska Kara Kriha, Mrs. Nebraska Adair Reese, the NAIA National Champion Concordia University Women’s Basketball Team and USA Bobsled Team Member Nicole Brungardt, who will lead the oath of athletes.
Rachel Young ,15, of North Platte, who won this year’s Anthem Contest, will perform the national anthem and the Nebraska National Guard will provide flag bearers and the color guard. KOLN-KGIN evening anchor Bill Schammert and Sports Director Kevin Sjuts will serve as emcees, and KX 96.9 morning show host JP Kyhn, who also serves as the PA voice of Husker Basketball, is the PA announcer.
Opening Ceremonies will be preceded Friday by SportFest at Lincoln East High School, with athlete meal-serving, EuroBungee, helicopter exhibit, vendor expo, celebrity meet-and-greets with Nicole Brungardt, Miss Nebraska and Mrs. Nebraska from 4:30–7 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.