Dave McCoy has won plenty of medals — more than 200 of them at the Show-Me State Games.
On Wednesday, the 82-year-old native of Carthage helped promote the Show-Me State Games in Southwest Missouri by participating in a torch-lighting ceremony in Spiva Park in Joplin.
“The best thing about the Show-Me Games is that there is no age at the beginning or the end,” McCoy said. “My mother, Edith Brown, won a medal when she was 95.
“It’s not that you have to be good. You just have to be there.”
The games will be held July 18-20 and July 25-27 at Columbia. The finals competition will attract more than 25,000 participants who will compete in about 40 athletic events from fencing to synchronized swimming.
“The Show-Me State Games is an Olympics-style amateur sports festival designed to provide Missourians of all ages and skill levels with an opportunity to participate in an activity of health, fitness, family and fun,” said Dave Fox, spokesman for the event.
“With 25,000 participants, the energy for this is beyond belief.”
The University of Missouri is the host for the games, a nonprofit program of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Physical Fitness and Health. About 600 people participated in a handful of contests during the first games in 1985. The games are now the largest state games in the nation, and they are the only state games to be profiled in Sports Illustrated magazine.
Joplin Mayor Melodee Colbert-Kean read a torch run proclamation in the park and expressed the hope that some of the games might be held in Joplin someday. Six other Missouri communities, in addition to Columbia, are participating in the event.
The games have been supported by corporate sponsors and entry fees. One of the first corporate sponsors was Shelter Insurance. Anna Hargis, advertising director for the company, said Shelter agents across the state provided an important role early on in the games by offering places where participants could pick up registration forms.
“Registration now is online, but Shelter Insurance still encourages physical fitness,” she said.
The torch run, she said, was used years ago to promote the Show-Me State Games.
“We brought back the torch run to remind individuals and families across the state that they can take part in this event,” she said. “If you don’t want to compete, we have lots of volunteer opportunities for the sport you love.”
Competitors who receive medals in the games will qualify for the National Congress of State Games in 2015 at Lincoln, Neb.
Members of the Joplin Roadrunners turned out in force for the torch run. The torch was carried by multiple runners from Spiva Park at Fourth and Main streets to Cunningham Park at 26th Street and Maiden Lane. They received a police escort.
Torch runs also are taking place in five other Missouri cities.
FOR DETAILS about the 30th anniversary Show-Me State Games, people may visit www.smsg.org or call 573-882-2101 to have an entry form mailed.