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The 32nd Empire State Games are underway!

By event photographer Joe Cascio:

Close to 6,000 athletes from across New York State, young and old, have descended upon WNY this week to challenge themselves and others in a wide variety of ways.

The teams marched into the stadium at the UB North Campus to the cheers of the crowd – not as many as they talked about, but not a bad group, and you could see the excitement on everyone’s faces.  Steve Mesler winner of Gold in the recent Vancouver Olympics led the Western Region team into the stadium to the delight of all in attendance.

There were some brief speeches from some notable WNYers such as Steve Tasker, ECC President Jack Quinn, UB President John Simpson and Alphonso O’Neil White, President of BCBS of WNY.  Title sponsors First Niagara Bank were also on stage and I’m sure that all were thankful for their support in bringing the games back to life following the previous years missed events due to State budget issues.

Third Eye Blind provided some musical entertainment and then a great fireworks display took place to wrap the night up.

Here are a couple of images of the opening and more to come over the next few days!


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