Opening Ceremonies

32nd Annual Opening Ceremonies

No matter where you finish, Opening Ceremonies is the place to start! The Friday, July 14, 2017 Opening Ceremonies of the 32nd Annual Big Sky State Games, sponsored by Wendy’s, will be a colorful evening packed with exciting family entertainment!

Gates Open at Wendy’s Field at Daylis Stadium (Third & Grand) in Billings at 5:30pm.

PARKING IS LIMITED

Park with ease at the YMCA and ride the shuttle to the stadium.

View Photos of 2016 Opening Ceremonies   View Photos of 2015 Opening Ceremonies

2017 Special Guest and Torch Lighter

2017 Torch Lighter: Willie Banks

World record setter and three-time Olympic Triple Jumper (1980, 1984, 1988) Willie Banks is the special guest athlete of the 32nd Annual Big Sky State Games Friday, July 14. He will speak and light the torch during Opening Ceremonies at Wendy’s Field at Daylis Stadium in Billings.

Banks is one of the greatest triple jumpers ever produced by the United States. He had his best moment on June 16, 1985 when he set a world record of 58’11 ½” at the National Championships in Indianapolis, Ind. That was the highlight of a career that started in Oceanside, Calif. Banks attended UCLA and was twice runner-up in the NCAA Championships. It was after college that he achieved his greatest success, setting his first American record in 1981 by jumping 56’ 7 ¾” and improving that record six more times—by more than 2 feet—before he was through. A four-time AAU champion, Banks represented that U.S. in 18 international competitions and was a member of the 1980 (boycotted), 1984 and 1988 Olympic teams. He captured a silver medal as a member of the U.S. team at the 1983 World Championships and was also a member of the 1987 World Championship team. In 1985, Banks was the Track & Field News and U.S. Olympic Committee Athlete of the Year.

After graduating from UCLA, Banks went on to the university’s law school. During this period, he became known as the “Bouncing Barrister.” He popularized the triple jump by encouraging the crowd to clap as he prepared for his run-up and by engaging spectators during a meet. Banks earned his B.A. and Juris Doctorate from UCLA.

Banks was inducted into the USA National Track & Field Hall of Fame in 1999. He served as Chair of USA Track and Field’s Athlete Advisory Committee and President of the US Olympians Association from 2005 to 2008.

During the Big Sky State Games Banks will also conduct the World Record Track & Field Camp on Friday, July 14 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Billings West High School Track. The Track & Field Camp features Banks, along with other former Olympians and elite coaches: Michael Powell- two-time Olympic Silver Medalist (Long Jump), Dick Fosbury- Olympic Gold Medalist (High Jump), Tom Pukstys- American Record Holder and two-time Olympian (Javelin) and Tom Hintanaus- two-time Olympian (Pole Vault).

The entry fee is $135.00 (includes camp and BSSG Track and Field registration). The coaches fee is $50.00 or is free if three or more of a coaches athletes attend. Register at bigskygames.org under Track & Field.

Fun for the Whole Family

Festivities kick off with SOAKED, a crazy fun two mile water walk/run through and around Pioneer Park. Other happenings include a Fun Fair, autographs with an Olympic athlete, food trucks, cash giveaway ($3200 total), sponsor booths, sport demonstrations, athlete t-shirt pick up, souvenir sales, and other interactive events. It's truly a night for the whole family!

The Ceremony officially begins at 7:30pm. The program includes Parade of Athletes (walk in the parade and receive a commemorative State Games gift), fun entertainment and interactive events, and the Men's and Women's Montana Mile (fastest milers in Montana), and traditional torch lighting by an Olympic athlete.

Mark Your Calendar
  • Friday, July 14th
  • Gates Open at 5:30pm
  • Admission $5/Adult
  • FREE Children under 6
  • Parking is Limited
  • Soaked Fun Run
  • T-shirt Pickup

Admission and Tshirt Pickup

Don't Forget Your Ticket

Admissision is $5/Adult and FREE for children 6 and under. Particpating athletes are admitted for free with their Opening Ceremonies ticket (postcard) mailed prior to the Games.

Particpating athletes can also use their entry ticket to pick up their commemorative t-shirts at Daylis Stadium during Opening Ceremonies (between 5:30pm and 8:00pm) on Friday, July 14, or between 9:00am and 5:00pm on Saturday or Sunday. Don't forget to bring your ticket and/or t-shirt claim letter (for teams), as you will not be able to pick up your t-shirts without it!