The State Summer Games in Bozeman May 11-13 will feature a high-energy Opening Ceremony May 11 at 7 p.m. in the Brick Breeden fieldhouse on the MSU campus. More than 1000 athletes along with coaches and volunteers combined with 5000 family members, friends and spectators will fill the arena in celebration of the Games. Emcees will be John Parkes from Murdoch’s Ranch & Home Supply, a Games Premier Sponsor, and JJ Petersen, Great Falls Lions athlete.

Other highlights include:

-Special guest Matt Roloff from TLC’s “Little People, Big World” as anchor for the evening. Mr. Roloff views the social stigmas and physical limitations of dwarfism not as obstacles but as opportunities. With humor and inspiration, he brings motivating stories to challenge the audience and demonstrate his own success as a Fortune 500 salesman and entrepreneur.

-Gov. Brian Schweitzer, Honorary Games Head Coach, will make a cameo appearance in support of the athletes and the Games.

-The cast of “It’s Our School, Too”, composed of local middle and high school students, will feature vignettes that highlight true to life experiences as told by Special Olympics athletes. The play, commissioned in 2010 and written for Special Olympics, Inc. as part of a national project, is part of a local effort to educate youth by providing them with strategies for positively affecting school climate.

-Bozeman area classrooms and students have adopted more than 25 Special Olympics teams statewide. Nearly 600 students will join their adopted teams during Opening Ceremonies in a show of support, acceptance and respect for people of all abilities.

-The Mighty Flick, a three-piece high-energy dance band, are familiar faces in the Montana music scene. Their enthusiasm for music is contagious, inspirational and always entertaining.

-The Bozeman High School pep band will be featured during the pre-show, along with local cheerleaders, athletes, pep rally leaders, and the MSU mascot, Champ. The band’s drum line will also support the ceremonial arrival of the Flame of Hope by members of local law enforcement: Bozeman Police Honor Guard and the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office. Members of the Knights of Columbus 4th Degree Honor Guard will also be on hand during the ceremony.

The Closing Ceremony will be in the Shroyer Gymnasium on the MSU campus on Friday, May 13 at 8 a.m. and include a special appearance Morissa Trunzo, talented vocalist, song writer and winner of the recent Special Olympics Montana Project UNIFY song contest.

During the Closing Ceremony, the winners of the annual Optimum/Chevy Raffle will be announced. The grand prize is a 2011 fully loaded Chevy Silverado pickup. Tickets for the raffle are available throughout the Games and the Bozeman community until the drawing.

The games, including Opening and Closing Ceremonies, are free to the public.

Recognized by the Chronicle of Philanthropy as the “most credible charity” in the United States, Special Olympics Montana invites you volunteer for the 2011 Special Olympics State Summer Games. If you can give an hour, two or more, you can affect positive change in someone’s life. If you wish to volunteer, or help sponsor the games please visit the volunteer website at somt.org or call the volunteer hotline (406) 582-4500.