Some 6,000 participants could be in central Kentucky for this weekend’s Bluegrass State Games. This is the 29th year for the statewide amateur competition. Bluegrass Sports Commission Director Terry Johnson said last year competitors came from 99 of 120 Kentucky counties.
“We are strongest in central Kentucky and eastern Kentucky and northern Kentucky and Louisville. And we are working, it’s one of our big efforts to try and move westward a couple centuries after the country did, but we’re trying to move westward.” Johnson said. “We get participation from western Kentucky, but not to the level we want and we want to make sure folks over there feel a part of this. This is the State Games.”
The once endangered Bluegrass State Games seem to have returned to good health. Poor participation and financial problems once threatened the statewide, amateur competition. But, this summer, the Games is organizing more than 30 sporting events. Johnson said the turn-around came then they changed their marketing approach.
“We revamped some of our sports,” he said. “We put them together in different ways because, especially in youth sports, things have changed a lot of the last ten to 15 years. Travel sports has become a lot bigger and because of that and doing some things in conjunction with our sponsors and how we get the word out and how we market ourself, we got up to about 16 thousand.”
About 16 thousand people are expected to compete this summer in some 35 sports. Organizers claim Kentucky’s state games see some of the best participation in the country.