Prairie Rose Games begin this week

BISMARCK – The Prairie Rose State Games will celebrate its 25th anniversary here this week with what may be the final games.

The sporting event begins at 7 p.m. CT Friday with the opening ceremony at the Bismarck Community Bowl and continues through Sunday.

More than 1,000 athletes of various ages will participate in events throughout the weekend. New events are the Hoop It Up basketball tournament, adult co-ed kickball, off-road duathlon, family fishing and remote control car racing.

Games Board President Robert King of Valley City said the event offers something for everybody.

“You see people from 5 years old to 75 or 80 years old,” he said.

King called the games “a labor of love, but said the financial burden has become too high to continue the games beyond this year. The board of directors is dissolving, but he hopes a community will decide to continue the games.

The Prairie Rose State Games website states that its mission is to foster amateur sports competition within the state. The goal is to promote knowledge of physical fitness and sports, improve sportsmanship, and provide participation opportunities and recognition for amateur athletes and the public.

Popular events are track and field, a road race and a race walk. Youth baseball numbers are also doing well this year, said Paula Redmann, community relations manager for Bismarck Parks and Recreation.

A number of events offer on-site registration, so there is still time to get involved.

Some adjustments were needed this year due to flooding, such as moving sand volleyball, but other spots were found, Redmann said. More than 300 volunteers will assist with the games.

The opening ceremony will feature Skydive Fargo and the parade of athletes. Former Gov. George Sinner will light the torch; the games began under his administration, Redmann said.

“That kicks off the whole weekend of family fun and sweat,” she said.

The public is encouraged to come out and watch the events for free. Events will take place throughout Bismarck-Mandan. Headquarters is at the main north entrance to Kirkwood Mall can provide directions to events. You can also find the list of events and locations here.

Redmann said it’s possible Bismarck may continue the games in the future. However, a community discussion is needed first, as well as getting through the flood.

“We have not said, ‘Yup, we’ll take up the torch,’ so to speak,” she said. “Right now, let’s just kind of heal up a little bit and help our community get better.”

——————————

Check out my new to North Dakota series here.