Lincoln wants to host 2015 State Games of America

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Associated Press

Posted on February 28, 2013 at 11:02 AM

Updated Thursday, Feb 28 at 12:05 PM

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Lincoln is competing against San Diego for the honor of hosting the 2015 State Games of America, an event that could bring 8,000 amateur athletes to Nebraska.

Athletes would compete in events such as archery and wrestling in the host city of Lincoln as well as venues in Omaha.

"It's a collection of state games programs coming together to compete against each other," said Scott Ash, director of the Cornhusker State Games.

The Midwest and Plains states of Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota and Missouri all have great state games programs, Ash said.

Nebraska's application to host the games is its first.

"It's a way to showcase what Nebraska can do," Ash said. "It's also going to be an enormous economic impact on the state."

The Cornhusker State Games provide Lincoln's economy with an estimated $5 million boost each year. The State Games of America, Ash said, could amount to a $20 million bonanza.

Ash, Dave Mlnarik, executive director of Cornhusker State Games; and Jeff Maul, of the Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau are scheduled to pitch their plan to the National Congress of State Games board of directors in Dallas. The board's selection probably won't be announced until May, after officials visit the California and Nebraska cities.

Lincoln's presentation highlights its new Pinnacle Bank Arena and related development in the Haymarket on the west side of downtown.

The events would be held at Lincoln municipal, school and university facilities, including the new arena. Omaha venues would be used for figure skating and ice hockey.

The national games competition is held every other year. San Diego hosted the games in 2011. The games will be held this year in the Hershey-Harrisburg, Pa., area, from July 31 to Aug. 4.

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Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, http://www.journalstar.com

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