“LET THE GAMES BEGIN” Utah Summer Games Opening Ceremony2 min read

By May Hunter

Every June the Larry H. Miller Utah Summer Games bring athletes, stunning fireworks, live music, and thousands of people to Cedar City for the Olympic-style festival for athletes of all ages, sports and abilities. This year they packed the stands of Southern Utah University’s Eccles Coliseum. June 7, 2024 was the 39th Larry H. Miller Utah Summer Games Opening Ceremony. The Ceremony is unique and different from no other, it makes you feel a part of the community and grateful to live where we live. It’s celebrating-it’s being with friends and family.

Founded in 1986, the organization strived to create an atmosphere of competition like the traditions of the Olympic Games, creating a sense of community and connection that can only be found through sports.

The event offered entertainment by Australian country musician Morgan Evans, a running of the USG torch by two-time Olympian Doug Padilla and a firework ceremony regarded by many as the best in Utah. “The platform here is capable of reaching so many youth directly, and it impacts them. Ideally, it helps them to be able to visualize themselves as achieving really cool, fun things,” Padilla explained. “The potential that lies within each one of us is unbounded. We just don’t know it. The hope is that they can start to see that they can do anything.”

Chosen as the torchbearer due to his competitive spirit and passion that embodies the same spirit fueling the Games, Padilla’s appreciation of the event is tied to the inspiration of athletes of all levels.

In addition to boosting the confidence of individual athletes, USG hopes to create a sense of community within Utah, Cedar City and the community as a whole. Utah prominent figures attending the event were Utah First Lady Abby Cox, Utah Congresswoman Celeste Maloy, SUU President Mindy Benson and Eric Schmutz, the president and CEO of the opening Ceremony’s presenting sponsor.

The full event signaled the start of summer for Cedar City, where the Games will continue to thrive in coming weeks.

In the spirit of giving back, the ceremony highlighted the recently announced “Summer Games Serves” initiative, designed to raise funds for the SUU HOPE PANTRY, which offers food and essential items to SUU students and community members in need.

The Larry H. Miller Utah Summer Games were built on pillars that included teamwork and a love of community. The Utah Summer Games is a festival for athletes of all ages and abilities. Since 1986, the event has been conducted at Southern Utah University in Cedar City, Utah. This year was exceptional, with a total of 9,600 participants, 50 thousand spectators, and 1,000 volunteers. USG would like to thank all of the participants and volunteers who made this year a huge success. “The strength of the team is each member.”


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