First 10 Sports of the Meijer State Games of Michigan

First 10 Sports of the Meijer State Games of Michigan

By: Tabitha Bacus

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Ten years ago, the Meijer State Games of Michigan were announced, and planning began for the first Summer Games. Typically for a State Games to become a full member, they have three years to get ten sports running. Michiganders however were supportive right away of the Meijer State Games and it didn’t take long for 15 sports to be a part of the inaugural Summer Games. Today thirteen of the fifteen sports are still part of the 2019 sports lineup. Ten have remained in just the Summer Games, one has moved to the Winter Games and two sports are in both the Winter and Summer Games. To mark the ten-year anniversary of the Meijer State Games of Michigan let's look back at the first ten fifteen sports.
Photo by Rich P Photography

Photo by Rich P Photography

1. Basketball - Bob Renwick, and Gary Wilfong Sr. started the Meijer State Games of Michigan basketball tournament with the Games’ Executive Director ten years ago. Since then, they have passed the torch to Wilfong Sr’s son Gary Wilfong Jr. The basketball tournament is widely popular. So much so that it is featured in both the Summer and Winter Games.

Photo by Paul Brower

Photo by Paul Brower

2. BMX – Over its ten years, the Meijer State Games has featured both freestyle and Olympic BMX. In 2019, Freestyle BMX returns to the Grand Haven Skatepark after being in Lasning, MI in 2018.

Photo by John Rothwell

Photo by John Rothwell

3. Bowling – Bowling is the other sport offered in both the Summer and Winter Games. At the 2019 Winter Games, the bowling event saw 140 participants, maxing out its registration cap.  

Photo by Rich P Photography

Photo by Rich P Photography

4. Boxing – Michigan Golden Gloves hosts the Meijer State Games of Michigan’s boxing tournament.  A great opportunity for boxing fans to watch live boxing on a Saturday night.

Photo by Jeanne Quillan

Photo by Jeanne Quillan

5. Fencing - Fencing moved to being held in just the Winter Games and is hosted by the West Michigan Fencing Academy. Fencing was one of the first sports to be played in the Olympic Games so, naturally, it was one of the first sports added to the Meijer State Games of Michigan.

Photo by Christopher Mowers

Photo by Christopher Mowers

6. Figure Skating – Hosted by the Greater Grand Rapids Figure Skating Club, the figure skating competition is a display of balance, grace, and technique for young skaters.   

Photo by Jim Shearer

Photo by Jim Shearer

7. Ice Hockey - One of the biggest events in the Meijer State Games of Michigan, hockey is unique with players trying out for teams. Hockey started off originally as just a high school tournament, led by Ron Baum and has grown to include 10U to High School players. The hockey tournament has gone through many changes over its 10 years and continues to evolve to provide the best experience for all players that try out for teams.

Photo by MSGOM Staff

Photo by MSGOM Staff

8. Mountain Biking - The Meijer State Games of Michigan mountain bike race is a part of the Michigan Mountain Biking Association’s Championship Points Series. The race prides itself as being extremely beginner friendly.  In 2016, the Meijer State Games mountain bike race was the Michigan Mountain Bike State Championship.

Photo by John Rothwell

Photo by John Rothwell

9. Rowing – The Grand Rapids Rowing Association has hosted the Grand Regatta (State Games’ rowing tournament) for the last ten years.  

10. Racquetball – Unfortunately, interest and venue availability for racquetball has decreased over the years and racquetball is no longer a part of the Summer Games lineup.

Photo by Steve Zomberg

Photo by Steve Zomberg

11. Rugby – Rugby is a sport that potentially dates back to 1845 though, no one actually knows the time period of its conception. In fact, there are known forms of sports that date from the medieval times that involve a ball being carried and tossed. 

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12. Softball - The Meijer State Games of Michigan offers three different softball tournaments; Fastpitch, Men’s, and Coed tournaments.  

Photo by Paul Brower

Photo by Paul Brower

13. Tae Kwon Do – The tae kwon do tournament has recently produced one of the 2018 Meijer State Games of Michigan Athlete of the Year, Adin Fetibegovic, who was also awarded the 2018 Athlete of the Year award by the National Congress of State Games..   

Photo by Diane Durand

Photo by Diane Durand

14. Track & Field – Track & Field is a sport that truly embodies the “all ages” mentality of the State Games with competitors as young as four or five running and the oldest competitor to compete in the Meijer State Games, Fred Winters, who was 100 years old when he competed in 2015. In 2019, Olympian Dick Fosbury, inventor of the “Fosbury Flop”, will be making doing a meet and great in the morning of the track and field event.

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15. Volleyball – Did you know that the inventor of volleyball intended for it to be a sport that can be played by any number of players on either side of the court? It is unsure when the unlimited number of players was cut down to the six per court-side that we are familiar with today.