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The 34th annual Simplot Games are rapidly approaching which means Idaho State University’s Holt Arena will soon be filled with rapid heartbeats, loud start guns, and roaring fans. Together with the best of high school track and field competition, the Simplot Games also tries to offer athletes, coaches, and fans something new each year. This year is no different with the Games providing some new events, new Olympians, new exhibitions, and new fun activities for all participants.
The Nation’s Indoor Premier Track and Field Event
The Simplot Games, a J.R Simplot Company-sponsored event, has become one of the nation’s premier high school indoor track and field events since it was first held in 1979.
1,8oo high school athletes from 20 different states and Canada will travel to Pocatello for this year’s Games, held February 16-18, 2012. Young athletes will have the opportunity to test their abilities against a variety of opponents on Idaho State University’s distinctive wood banked track. Some of these athletes might even go on to become future Olympians. (Simplot Games fans can watch some past participants compete at this year’s London Summer Olympics.)
The Games are more than just a track meet
The Simplot Games is a unique track and field event because not only does it provide young athletes an opportunity to win medals but it also provides off-the-track entertainment and fun.
Simplot Games After Dark, a Friday evening activity, stars Olympian Maurice Greene and ends with a live DJ dance party with lasers, video screens, and mechanical bull.
Like the Olympics, the Simplot Games Parade of Athletes highlights each athlete on Saturday.
During the weekend competitors can rub elbows with Olympic legends like Simplot Games Honorary Chairman Dick Fosbury and Olympic Gold medalists Andre Phillips, Stacy Dragila Kevin Young, and 3-time Olympian Willie Banks.
“ I really enjoy Simplot Games because there is a variety of competition and you’re guaranteed a good show,” says Erik Harris, a fourth year Simplot Games athlete. “I feel like they try to make it a special experience for us.”
New 2012 Additions to the 2012 Games
“Returning for our 34th year, we know the Games are successful, but we still try to include enough new things in it to keep the event fresh and exciting.” says Rebecca
Anderson, Simplot Games Executive Director. “ The basic formula is the same, we’ve just added a little spice.”
This year the Weighted Shoulder throw, better known as the indoor javelin, will make its first appearance at Simplot Games. The shoulders throw promises to be a good event for regular javelin throwers because it incorporates all the techniques that actual javelin throwing requires but adapted for indoor arenas. With this addition there will be two new athletes setting a Simplot Games record this initial year.
The Devil’s Mile, a new exhibition event, will also make its debut at the Games. This event isn’t your ordinary mile run because after each lap, the last place runner must drop out until there is only the winner left at the final tape. Not only will the Devil’s Mile be an awesome event for fans, it will also give some exhibition runners a chance to win money. For the first time in Simplot Game history a cash prize will be at stake.
This year’s After Dark will not only feature Maurice Green but also Trent Sanderson from Team Prep USA. Sanderson will teach preventative techniques that keep athletes going, motivational skills, and discuss the discipline it takes to be a successful athlete.
Lastly, to promote agricultural literacy, the J.R. Simplot Co. is sponsoring “The Fast and the Farmers” booth. This “green screen” technology will put the Simplot Games athletes in a potato field, out on the range or surrounded by French fries as they receive a souvenir photo with their teammates.
As if that weren’t enough, there are also many new adidas running gear items on sale in the Simplot Games Store.
Simplot Games volunteers, sponsors, and local business leaders have spent countless hours planning this event with the goal of highlighting Pocatello’s beauty and hospitality for the thousands of visitors who flood the town’s restaurants, hotels, and shops.
The Simplot Games is a melting pot of young athletes, dedicated business people, and volunteers who come together in the spirit of friendly competition.
“Pocatello is the secret behind the success of Simplot Games,” says Anderson. “Without the tremendous amount of support we receive from ISU and the local community this event simply would not be possible.”
Feel the excitement of Simplot Games this year February 16-18. Admission is free! For more information and event schedules, go to www.simplot games.com and check out Simplot Games on Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube.
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