Ladies and Gentlemen, the 40th Anniversary Alabama State Games were a rousing success. A multitude of medals and $20,000 in academic scholarships were awarded to 17 athletes and the participants are already asking about the 2024 Games.

“We were excited about returning to Birmingham, the Over The Mountain cities and Jefferson County to celebrate our 40th Anniversary,” said Ron Creel, founder and CEO of the Alabama State Games. “We finished the event with 3,800 athletes, which in turn drove a tremendous and positive economic impact the entire area. The State Farm Athlete Leadership Summit and Opening Ceremony were great experiences to kick off our annual Games. The athletes, their parents and fans carried over that excitement and made the sports that much more memorable and thrilling to watch.”

The Alabama State Games — a fixture in the state’s sports spectrum since 1982 as Alabama’s largest multi-sporting event — returned to Birmingham and other areas of Jefferson County for the first time in 15 years and brought 21 sports.

Using sports as a vehicle to promote academic excellence, a healthy lifestyle and good citizenship the Alabama State Games has awarded 17 scholarships for $20,000 during the State Farm Athlete Leadership Summit and Opening Ceremony bringing the grand total to $355,610 awarded to athletes of all ages to aid in their future academic pursuits be them at a two-year, four-year or trade school.

The State Farm Athlete Leadership Summit featuring speakers former NFL standouts Ben Tamburello (Philadelphia Eagles), Maurice Oliver (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and Troy Wolkow (Minnesota Vikings, Kansas City Chiefs and the New England Patriots) was hosted by John Langcust kicked off the weekend and was followed by what some longtime Alabama State Games participants have called the “greatest Opening Ceremony in 40 years.”

The success of Opening Ceremony is in large part due to the mind of Troy University’s Robert W. Smith, the John M. Long School of Music and the Sound of the South. He and his team conceptualized — with the help of the music group POPulus — an event that married pomp and circumstance with a rock concert. Parents, participants and a mixture of local, county and state government officials were all on the feet by the end of the night grooving with the music.

The 40th Anniversary Alabama State Games Opening Ceremony was telecast live statewide across the Alabama State Games Television Network thanks to stations in Huntsville, Birmingham, Montgomery, Mobile and Dothan.

In terms of individual sports, track & field and equestrian were among the highlights of the 40th Anniversary Alabama State Games. Track & field — dating back to the first Alabama State Games in 1983 — drew 568 athletes and (with coaches and officials) easily topped 700 and generated an electric buzz in and around the UAB Track Complex.

The Howell Lee Equestrian Fun Show, one of the inaugural events in the 40th Anniversary Alabama State Games, drew an unexpected 111 participants to Pelham’s Windwood Equestrian.

“Seeing the way the Alabama State Games have grown from year to year to year speaks volumes about our outstanding employees and volunteers,” Creel said. “We always recognize the parents of those athletes who understand the importance of the Alabama State Games, the State Farm Athlete Leadership Summit and the opening ceremony and that this is a wholesome, family-friendly experience. Their willingness to support and encourage their children as they go for the gold is what makes our events special. There is no question the future of the Alabama State Games will continue to shine as we enter our 41st year.”