Saturday, July 10, 2010

Sunflower State Games

Starting this weekend, and continuing the next two, are the Sunflower State Games.  This is like an Olympics for amateur Kansas athletes.  It's not just track and field though.  There are dozens of sports, such as tennis, sailing, shooting, bowling, softball, raquetball, etc.  The Sunflower Games have been held each year since 1990.  If you are a Kansas resident you can enter any event.  The first several years the games were held in Lawrence.  In recent years they have been held here in Topeka.  I will be playing in the disc golf competition this year, for the third straight year.  Since sports make great subjects for photography and video, I enjoy going to a lot of the other competitions.  This morning I drove up to the 7000 block of N. Topeka Blvd. to the North Topeka Saddle Club for the Junior Rodeo.  While I was there they were doing the calf roping competition. 

After climbing the fence surrounding the arena I took this photo.  A calf has just been released and the contestant is just beginning to take off after it on his horse.  All the contestants in this redeo were young people.  When I first got there some really little kids, wearing crash helmets, were riding on sheep.  I was amazed by the size of some of the horse trailers parked around the outskirts of the corral. 

This afternoon I went to Washburn University where they were holding men's basketball games in both Lee Arena and Whiting Gym.  They have a full allotment of teams this year, so there was action in both gyms were all day long.  The first games started at 8 am, and the last didn't end until 8pm.  On Sunday 12 of the 24 teams move on to elimination round.

 I took this photo of a Jordanesque leap into the air by one of the players.  Of all the sports in the Sunflower State Games, and I've been in attendance at nearly all of them, the basketball games are always the most intense.  A lot of the sports competitions are very laid back affairs, more like a weekend of fun with your buddies.  But the basketball is always high on emotion.  The only other sport that seems to have this level of seriousness is perhaps the wrestling, where I've witnessed similar tension.

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