COLUMBIA – The Show-Me State Games proved to be an economic boon for Boone County. The event added an estimated $15 million to the local economy.
At an event hosted at the Columbia Country Club on Friday afternoon, the Muleskinners Democratic Club provided lunch for about 30 people who came to hear Dave Fox, associate director of the Show-Me State Games, speak about the games and its financial influence on mid-Missouri.
"We had our Missouri Senior Games last week," Fox said. "I can report to you today that it was a true Show-Me State Games event: it was hot, it rained, and we had delays. But, on the positive side, the numbers appear to be very good, and we had a great, successful weekend."
The games provideed an opportunity for people from across the state to connect through participation in the "largest state games in the U.S. by far," said Bill Clark, long-term Show-Me State Games volunteer, Muleskinners member and a columnist for the Columbia Daily Tribune, when he introduced Fox to the crowd.
More than 25,000 people participated in 42 different sports last year.
The first Show-Me State Games was held in 1985 in Columbia and had only 600 participants.
"When you look at participants, most of them are getting here and bringing somebody with them," Fox said, "So we add one person (when calculating how many showed up for the games last year); we estimate 25,000 turns into 50,000. So when we talk about the impact the games have, not only in the summer but specifically in the three weekends, it's really significant."
Fox said the average person who went to the games last year spent on average $71.81 a day during the weekend spent in town. "The overall economic impact for the city of Columbia and Boone County was roughly $15 million," he said.
"It's extremely important as we move forward that we always consider (the balance between increasing funds and providing opportunities for participants). We are always looking to increase our numbers and to grow based on the availability of the facilities," he said.
Clark said a unique event will occur July 19 for the 2014 Show-Me State Games. Steve Schmidt, 55, will set a Guinness World Record for pulling six nails out of a wall with his teeth in less than 12 seconds.
"What he plans to do is break the record," Clark said, "and then turn around and break it again."
The second and third set of competitions in the 30th annual Show-Me State Games will be held in Columbia on the weekends of July 18 and July 25.
The Muleskinners Democratic Club will hold another lunch event at the Columbia Country Club on July 4,which will feature three candidates for Boone County Circuit Court.