Opening ceremonies launch Utah Summer Games with fireworks, music and fun

Larry H. Miller Utah Summer Games Opening Ceremonies ushers in nearly 10,000 athletes from all over the state Thursday night with fireworks, entertainment and the showcasing of local talent, Cedar City, Utah, June 8, 2017 | Photo taken by Nakavius Jakwon, St. George News / Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY – Nearly 10,000 athletes from all over Utah descended on the Southern Utah University’s Eccles Coliseum Thursday night for an evening of fireworks, entertainment and fun during the Larry H. Miller Utah Summer Games.

Now, in its 32nd year, the Miller Summer Games Opening Ceremonies has become a much-anticipated tradition in Cedar City with families and friends looking forward to a night of entertainment and local talent including a dance performance from Canyon View High School.

Larry H. Miller Utah Summer Games Opening Ceremonies ushers in nearly 10,000 athletes from all over the state Thursday night with fireworks, entertainment and the showcasing of local talent, Cedar City, Utah, June 8, 2017 | Photo by Nakavius Jakwon, St. George News / Cedar City News

There is also the time-honored lighting of the cauldron and the celebration of the ushering in of athletes where 100 American flags line the backdrop. And for the night’s finale, a spectacular fireworks display that can be seen throughout the entire city.

“Athletes are similar in a lot of ways but they may choose archery or they may choose karate, but they all compete and they want to win,” USG Executive Director Casey McClellan said. “I think that’s what makes us unique, is it’s not just a soccer tournament. It’s not just an archery shoot. It’s a bunch of athletes coming together to compete at the same time and that’s what gives it that festival feeling. Tonight at the Opening Ceremonies, they get to be celebrated. This celebration is about them and what they do and it’s a celebration about our community.”

The Opening Ceremony celebrates the athletes and sportsmanship shown throughout the Olympic-style competition that brings in nearly 10,000 athletes, 1,000 volunteers, 50,000 spectators and 38 different competitions.

The surprise of the night at the Larry H. Miller Utah Summer Games Opening Ceremonies Thursday was when Tyler Hunt proposed to his girlfriend Carley Bosh of three years front and center on the main stage, Cedar City, Utah, June 8, 2017 | Photo by Nakavius Jakwon, St. George News / Cedar City News

This year, however, there was another celebration at the Miller Summer Games as Tyler Hunt took the mainstage halfway through the show to propose to his girlfriend, Carley Bosh, of three years.

Hunt, 26, said two years ago, just as the fireworks were beginning to happen, he told Bosh he had something for her in his pocket.

“I said, ‘babe I have something for you in my pocket,’ and I had her phone or her keys in my pocket or something and I went to give them to her and she started crying because she thought I was proposing,” he said.

It was then Hunt made the decision he would pop the question during the Summer Games.

This time, however, Bosh wasn’t expecting Hunt to propose and it came as a huge surprise.

Larry H. Miller Utah Summer Games Opening Ceremonies ushers in nearly 10,000 athletes from all over the state Thursday night with fireworks, entertainment and the showcasing of local talent, Cedar City, Utah, June 8, 2017 | Photo by Nakavius Jakwon, St. George News / Cedar City News

“I feel like a million bucks,” Bosh said. “I am the luckiest girl in the world.”

After a big event like that, the Miller Summer Games Opening Ceremonies will become a family tradition for the couple and their 12-week-old son for years to come.

For others, like the Slack family, this event has been something they say they look forward to every year. With two sons already competing in the games and another one who will follow in a few years, Jeff Slack said the Miller Summer Games is something that brings all of them together.

“It’s always fun to come together and watch the fireworks and participate in the different games together like the 5K run,” Slack said.

Larry H. Miller Utah Summer Games Opening Ceremonies ushers in nearly 10,000 athletes from all over the state Thursday night with fireworks, entertainment and the showcasing of local talent, Cedar City, Utah, June 8, 2017 | Photo taken by Nakavius Jakwon, St. George News / Cedar City News

The games are not just for school-aged children. Athletes range in age and abilities, making it an event anyone can enjoy.

“We try to be very competitive on one end but we also want people running the 5K for the first time to be able to compete against a person of their same age. So, again, I think that’s what makes us unique – it’s not just competitive, it’s not just novice. And I think what makes it really fun is this becomes a family trip, a family event and a family trip and destination.”

Starting in 1986, this three-week long event has continued to grow and add new games each year and 2017 is no different with dodgeball now included in the lineup of competitions.

This year’s games also include the biggest youth basketball tournament in its history.

The Miller Summer Games officially began this week and will run through Jun. 17. Click here for the master schedule, and see the Larry H. Miller Utah Summer Games website for more sport details.

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.

Email: tsullivan@stgnews.com

Twitter: @tracie_sullivan

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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