Registration is open for the 2014 Cornhusker State Games.

Nebraska Sports Council officials have announced that, to help celebrate the event’s 30th Anniversary, Opening Ceremonies on Friday, July 18 will take place at Lincoln’s Pinnacle Bank Arena.

The annual mid-summer sports festival features competition scheduled July 18-27 in more than 60 sports at 50 different venues in Lincoln, Omaha and surrounding communities. Officials expect more than 13,000 competitors, with several new offerings including a gravel race for cyclists, a new junior division in baseball and the return of crossfit after a one-year hiatus.

Out-of-state athletes

For the first time, the Cornhusker State Games also welcomes athletes from neighboring states which either a) have no official State Games of their own or b) don’t offer State Games of America qualifying sports that are offered at the Cornhusker State Games.

The National Congress of State Games recently relaxed the state residency requirement for participation in the event to accommodate athletes from states, like South Dakota and North Dakota, which don’t have official State Games of their own.

The new ruling also opens a path for Dakotans to partake in the organization’s biennial national event, the 2015 State Games of America, which will also be held in Lincoln. To qualify for the national competition, non-Nebraska residents must earn a medal in a recognized State Games event in 2014.

Over 12,000 last year

Last year, 12,343 Nebraskans participated in the Cornhusker State Games. The top five team sports last year were basketball, soccer, volleyball, softball and baseball. The top individual sports were track & field, shooting, 5K run, triathlon, swimming and wrestling. Participants ranged in age from one to 87.

All registered participants receive a shirt, souvenir yearbook and a pass to the Opening Ceremonies. Entry fees vary by sport based on competition costs, but the average entry fee is $29 per person. Those interested can find information or register at CornhuskerStateGames.com.

Opening at Arena

The Games Opening Ceremonies moves from its traditional home at Lincoln’s Seacrest Field to the new Pinnacle Bank Arena to provide an air-conditioned, rain-proof setting with top-of-the industry audio-visual production capability.

“We wanted to do something big and fun for the 30th Anniversary. Between the newness of the venue, the production capability and the climate control, the Pinnacle Bank Arena offers a chance to celebrate in style,” Nebraska Sports Council Executive Director Dave Mlnarik said.

The Nebraska Sports Council conducts the Cornhusker State Games and the LiveWell Challenge Series. The Council is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization whose mission is to provide quality sports competition and promote healthy lifestyle behaviors. Platinum partners include BlueCross and BlueShield of Nebraska, Saint Elizabeth Regional Medical Center and Nebraska Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine. Learn more at NebraskaSportsCouncil.com.

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