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Big Sky State Games Will Continue, With Changes

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The 35th-annual Big Sky State Games are still on, but they are going to look a little different this year. Registration is down 40%, and some sporting events are being cancelled because of coronavirus restrictions.

From the opening ceremonies on July 17 at Billings’ Daylis Stadium, the state games will have a very different feel.

“It is going to be modified,” Big Sky State Games Executive Director Liana Susott said. “We are just going to have the bare bones of lighting the torch, the Montana Miles and social distancing in the grandstands.”

The opening ceremonies will be live streamed on SWX and KURL TV.

Most of the outdoor events will still go on, although the format may change a bit. Some indoor events have been moved outdoors, including arm wrestling, pickleball and cornhole. Volleyball is now grass four-on-four volleyball, and basketball has been moved to August as part of a three-on-three tournament.

Other events have been cancelled, such as judo, biathlon and swimming.

Indoor athletes must now wear a face covering when competing. For some sports and the physicality of their competition, a mask is not possible. Commissioners for the remaining indoor events are still evaluating whether to cancel their sport. Bowling and billiards will go on with athletes wearing masks.

Susott said athletes and spectators of the State Games’ outdoor events are asked to follow the health department’s guidelines.

“Do not compete or spectate if you’re sick,” she said. “Stay at home, out of public places. We want all of all our athletes to wash their hands, use hand sanitizers before and after competing. Maintain six feet distance while spectating.”

Susott added that some events, by their nature, do not allow for physical distancing. Athletes should understand the inherent risks of entering those events.

She urged athletes to check their website for any changes or update on the events.

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