Senior Games open with inspiring words, engaging performances; STGNews Photo Gallery

ST. GEORGE – The 2014 Huntsman World Senior Games opened with a bang on Tuesday night as thousands of athletes and spectators were entertained, inspired and awed by the thrilling skill of skydivers, the talent and joy of local performing groups and the powerful message of one very special speaker.

The opening ceremonies of the games ushered in the 28th year of competition for senior athletes, who came from across the nation and around the world to compete in sports as varied as triathlon, tennis and softball.

Athletes enter the stadium at the opening ceremonies of the Huntsman World Senior Games, St. George, Utah, Oct. 7, 2014 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News
Athletes enter the stadium at the opening ceremonies of the Huntsman World Senior Games, St. George, Utah, Oct. 7, 2014 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

Judy Pyle, of Orange County, Calif., a 7-year competitor, came to the games with her softball team, California Spirit, and said that they love coming to the games here.

“Huntsman has the best reputation,” Pyle said. “It is not only the games, but the community and the volunteers.”

Though there were many differences between the countries, states and cities represented, the overall message of the ceremonies was one of unity, friendship and success in both sport and life.

Entertainment for the evening was provided by an array of local talent. including the Pine View High School Drum Team, Champion Allstars Cheerleading and singers and dancers from Diamond Talent, who brought a joyful exuberance to the stadium and created an atmosphere of celebration.

It was the first year for Champion Allstars to perform with the games and co-owner Cassidy Legg said that the girls were super excited to be in front of such a big crowd and to be able to practice their stunts, especially with competition season just getting started.

The ceremonies welcomed several dignitaries, including St. George Mayor Jon Pike, members of the Huntsman family, Dixie State University President Dr. Richard Williams, and retired Utah Broadcasters Association Hall-of-Famer Dick Nourse, who also acted as emcee.

Members of Diamond Talent sing and dance at the opening ceremonies of the Huntsman World Senior Games, St. George, Utah, Oct. 7, 2014 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News
Members of Diamond Talent sing and dance at the opening ceremonies of the Huntsman World Senior Games, St. George, Utah, Oct. 7, 2014 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

The guest speaker for the night was former college basketball and NBA great Thurl Bailey. He provided the crowd with a special message about focus, preparation and visualizing success, lessons he learned throughout his life as a basketball player and that continue to stay with him to this day.

Bailey shared some words of wisdom from his father.

“If you continue to focus on that goal, because you are prepared, you will knock that shot down more times than not,” Bailey said, quoting his dad. “But there will be times that you will miss that shot and people will cheer and you will walk away sometimes with your head down, but always remember that you want to be the person on that line because you have prepared for that moment.”

In addition to speaking, Bailey also showed off his vocal chops, singing both the National Anthem and capping off his remarks with an original song entitled “Bring Your ‘A’ Game.”

Flags of the countries represented at the Hunstman World Senior Games are presented at the opening ceremonies, St. George, Utah, Oct. 7, 2014 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News
Flags of the countries represented at the Hunstman World Senior Games are presented at the opening ceremonies, St. George, Utah, Oct. 7, 2014 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

Bailey had the crowd on their feet, clapping and cheering as he sang and danced into the night.

The evening came to a close with the traditions of the games: the presentation of the colors of the countries, an Olympic-style torch run and the lighting of the cauldron.

John Morgan, 91 and original founder of the Senior Games and 2014 doubles tennis winner, along with David and Paul Huntsman, lit the the cauldron signifying the official opening of the games. An explosive fireworks display finished off the celebration.

“I think tonight was just outstanding,” games CEO, Kyle Case, said. “The entertainment was great, all that local talent. I thought Thurl was just marvelous, the weather was great, you couldn’t have asked for a better night, just a great, great evening.”

The events, which started Monday, will continue through Oct. 18 and will feature sporting events ranging from archery and cycling to shooting, swimming and even square dance.

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Resources

  • For more information about the Huntsman World Senior Games click here

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