- Events & Highlights
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.
Park with ease at the YMCA and ride the shuttle to the stadium.
The 2017 torch lighter is still TBD. Check back Spring 2017 to find out which amazing athlete will be lighting the torch!
Two-time Olympic Gold Medal Softball Player (1996, 2000) Dot Richardson was the special guest athlete of the 31st Annual Big Sky State Games. She spoke and lit the torch during Opening Ceremonies at Wendy’s Field at Daylis Stadium in Billings.
Richardson hit the game winning home run in the 1996 Olympic Gold medal game against China, it was the first home run ever in Olympic softball. She is a three-time World Champion (1986, 1990, 1994) and helped her team win five Pan American Game Gold Medals. As a collegiate player, Richardson was a five-time All-American, earning AIAW All-America honors at Western Illinois and four NCAA All-America honors at UCLA. After transferring to UCLA from Western Illinois, she was recognized one year as an All-American by both organizations. Richardson was also the NCAA Player of the Decade for the 1980’s.
Richardson was born in the 1960s’ a decade before Title IX opened the access for women in sports. She was a bat girl for her brothers’ baseball team, which allowed her the opportunity to practice with the team. At 10, a baseball coach offered her a chance to pitch, as long as she cut her hair and answered to a boy’s name. Shortly after turning that opportunity down Richardson was offered a chance to join a local women’s fast-pitch team.
Richardson's love of baseball quickly shifted to softball when she learned she could be part of a team. At age 10, she was playing fast pitch with women twice her age. She is the youngest player in ASA history to play in a Women’s Major Fast Pitch National Championship at 13.
For many years, while playing on the US National, Team Richardson was working toward her medical degree and serving her medical residency in orthopedic surgery. In 2001, she became the medical director for the USA National Training Center in Clermont, Florida. She has been the head softball coach at Liberty University since 2013.
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.
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!