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Whistlestop tour touts State Games

By Staff
BACK IN MERIDIAN Michelle Ray, left, Leah Reed, Allyson McKell, Brenda Hiatt, representatives of the State Games of Mississippi, and Nicke Trahan, of Amtrak, returned home Wednesday after a "whistlestop" tour of six Mississippi cities promoting State Games. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Jeff Byrd / sports editor
June 5, 2003
A six-city promotional tour touting the State Games of Mississippi came to an end Wednesday at Union Station in Meridian.
The trip, via Amtrak, was the second annual one designed to raise awareness for State Games, a Meridian-hosted event featuring amateur athletes.
Some events begin this weekend and official opening ceremonies are slated for June 20 at Ray Stadium at Meridian High School. The bulk of the competition starts on June 21.
State Games Marketing Director Leah Reed, who took part in the whistlestop tour, said she was impressed with the response the group received.
The trip originated on Tuesday in New Orleans, where the group boarded Amtrak's "City of New Orleans" and headed north to McComb. From there, the State Games goodwill ambassadors went to Jackson and Greenwood, then returned on the southbound train to New Orleans.
On Wednesday, they departed for Picayune aboard the "Crescent." They arrived in Laurel about 10:15 a.m. to a reception that Reed found impressive as four youth soccer teams met the train.
Brenda Hiatt of Meridian, chairman of the State Games board of directors, said she also enjoyed the tour.
At a Union Station press conference, Meridian Mayor John Robert Smith thanked the group for helping to promote the games and the city of Meridian.
The five events this weekend are sailing, a mule and donkey show, martial arts, biathlon and fencing.

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