One month from now, Kansans will converge in Topeka to participate in the 27th annual Sunflower State Games. We invited Mitch Gross, executive director of the Games, to provide some history and explain how this annual sporting event is getting Kansans active more than ever before. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas is a proud sponsor of the Sunflower State Games.


Established in 1990, the Sunflower State Games is Kansas’ own championship-style sports festival for amateur athletes of all ages and skill levels. A recognized program of the United States Olympic Committee, the Sunflower State Games provides an opportunity for Kansans to increase their health and wellness through participation in sports. All Kansas residents, military personnel and college students are eligible to participate in this event. In recent months, the Sunflower State Games obtained the rights to the Kansas Senior Games in an effort to expand its programming for ages 50+ and offer additional opportunities to make Kansas a healthier state.

The purpose of the Sunflower State Games and Kansas Senior Games is to provide a platform for Kansans to utilize these events as tools to achieve the following:

  1. Lead a healthy and active lifestyle through physical activity.
  2. An opportunity to set and meet goals by using competition as the end result.
  3. A stage to achieve greatness in a championship style setting.
  4. An opportunity to create long lasting memories and build camaraderie with fellow competitors.

The Sunflower State Games and Kansas Senior Games address many health problems and needs for Kansas residents. First and foremost, these multi-sport competitions offer participants a platform to either improve or maintain a desired level of physical fitness. In 2014, Kansas had the 13th highest obesity rate in the United States. By increasing physical activity through participation in these events, Kansans are demonstrating a desire to make a positive change in their daily lives. Additionally, these competitions serve as the culmination of a year’s worth of training and dedication for athletes to display their talents in a championship setting.

The Sunflower State Games has become a much respected program in emphasizing personal development through health, physical fitness and sport for all ages and skill levels. Athletes in the Games have ranged in age from 3 years old to 88 years young. The Sunflower State Games strives to “offer something for everyone.” The Sunflower State Games is a full member of the National Congress of State Games and qualifying event for State Games of America. The 2016 Sunflower State Games will take place July 8-24 in Topeka, Kansas. A record 49 different sports will be offered and take place at more than 35 different venues.

The Kansas Senior Games is a multi-sport festival for ages 50 and older, consisting of 17 sporting events and open to both Kansas residents and out of state participants. The Kansas Senior Games is a full member of the National Senior Games Association, and will be a qualifying event for the 2017 National Senior Games. This past February, the Sunflower State Games obtained the rights to the Kansas Senior Games from Shawnee County Parks and Recreation. Formerly known as the Kansas Senior Olympics, the Kansas Senior Games will continue to provide opportunities for the 50 and older population to lead a healthy and active lifestyle. This year’s games will take place September 9-18 in Topeka, Kansas.

For complete event details and registration procedures for both events, please visit www.sunflowergames.com.

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