On Thursday, October 10, the Campbell County Convention & Visitors Bureau — in partnership with TBH Athletics, Chad Tabler, Luke Bennett, and Tony Heidel — were granted the rights to host the State Games (currently known as the Cowboy State Games.)
The Cowboy State Games were started in 1986 by Dr. Mark Rinne in Cheyenne. In 1991, the Games were hosted in Gillette for two years. The inaugural four-day event had 3,500 athletes compete in 28 events. After a nine-year hiatus the event was relaunched under the name “Wyoming State Games,” which ran from 2013 to 2016. The Games were then taken over by the Casper Convention & Visitors Bureau and their Sports Alliance who reinstated the name “Cowboy State Games”.
For the past three years, Casper has housed the Cowboy State Games through their Casper Sports Alliance. In 2020, the Games will once again be based in Gillette, thanks to the community wide support shown by local organizations, including Gillette Main Street, Campbell County Parks and Recreation, CAM-PLEX Multi-Event Facilities, Gillette College, and the City of Gillette.
“The combined application of Campbell County Convention & Visitors Bureau and TBH Athletics demonstrated overwhelming support by community organizations that will work together to strengthen and ultimately grow future participation in the Cowboy State Games,” said Eric Engelbarts, National Congress of State Games President, in a press release.
The Cowboy State Games are part of the National Congress of State Games. Hosting statewide tournaments across the United States, athletes compete for the opportunity to play in the bi-annual national tournament. These Olympic-Style events bring the best of the best from across the country to compete for State Pride.
The first official State Games event in Gillette has already been booked at the CAM-PLEX. In January, there will be a pickleball, darts and indoor softball tournament. The plan is to hold two major multi-sport events per year, and additional events throughout the year.
“The biggest thing right now is finding the best dates that work for multiple sports and sponsors who want to help these games grow,” says CCCVB Sales and Event Coordinator Christen Burdette. “We are thrilled with the outpouring of community support to bring the Games back to Gillette and showcasing our incredible facilities. Gillette is a community that comes together like no other and having the opportunity to host such a prestigious event is a challenge that I know they will knock out of the park! Casper has done an incredible job the past 3 years and we look forward to continuing their proud tradition with a smooth passing of the torch.”