Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Flooding No Threat to Games Almost All Showing Up for State Competition

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Flooding No Threat to Games Almost All Showing Up for State Competition

Article excerpt

Amazingly, the Show-Me State Games will conclude this weekend without much discomfort from the Great Flood of '93.

There might be a few drops of discontent, but, by and large, the games went on despite the surrounding disaster, which has closed highways and put much of the state under water.

"I breathe a sigh of relief every year" when the games are over, said Gary Filbert, executive director. "It's called a logistical nightmare, but we feel we do it about as well as anybody in the 44 states that have these games. Our staff does a super job of pulling it off."

What we have here is about 20,000 participants in 29 sports, plus 3,000 volunteers.

Under the best of circumstances, making sure the games are conducted smoothly is a trying task. But this year, the Missouri and Mississippi rivers are ravaging the state with the worst flooding in recorded history. Getting to central Missouri can be a difficult task from some water-soaked areas, but Filbert said the games have had few no-shows.

"We had four soccer teams that didn't show up out of 239 registered teams," he said. "And we had four basketball teams that didn't come. Really, that's about what we usually have."

Only one event this weekend has been postponed - the racquetball competition that was scheduled for Jefferson City.

With U.S. Highways 54 and 63 closed heading into Jefferson City, there are only a couple of ways to get there from Columbia. It's usually a 40-minute drive, but now it takes about 90 minutes.

"That's without traffic," said Tom Halford, who coaches a 19-and-under girls soccer team from Jefferson City.

His team couldn't come up with enough players twice Friday, but the Jefferson City Pride managed to field a team Saturday morning at Cosmo Park. Three girls showed up five minutes before the game.

"Jefferson City itself is badly flooded, and highways are shut down," Halford said. "It's hard for the outside world, which would be Columbia, to visualize this."

So Jefferson City Mayor Louise Gardner recommended that the racquetball competition be postponed. …

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