From wrestlers to cornhole players, amateur athletes of all types came out to play Saturday at the Bluegrass State Games.
The games, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, is the largest amateur sporting event in the state.
The majority of the festivities began a week ago and will conclude next weekend. Events are held at various locations throughout Lexington and the region.
Johnathan Roberts of Louisville competed in the games for the first time Saturday afternoon and picked up two golds and a silver in track and field events at the University of Kentucky's Shively Track.
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"I feel great," he said. "Winning does that for you."
He said it was the first time he had competed in a track event in about 20 years. He competed in the 45 to 49 age group.
"I need something to work towards instead of just training, training, training," said Roberts, who works as a personal trainer. "It becomes monotonous. I wish I'd known about it sooner."
He said he'd already made new friends among the runners at the games and was picking up tips from them on finding other amateur athletics events throughout the country.
Tim Harris and Melissa Manley of Lexington entered their 3-year-old and 6-year-old sons, Micah and Zyan, in track and field events.
Zyan competes with a local track league, but Saturday was Micah's first time competing. Both left with jingling medals around their necks.
"To me, it was a lot more fun than the regular track meets that we're used to going to," Melissa Manley said, noting that it seemed more relaxed and community-oriented. "We enjoyed it."
Rick Hatcher, executive director of the Lexington Area Sports Authority, who serves on the Bluegrass State Games board, said this year's games were "very successful, just as good, if not better than last year."
More than 15,000 athletes were expected to compete over the course of three weekends this year, said Sam Dunn, the volunteer chair for the games.
He said the soccer tournament — taking place this weekend in three counties — is the largest in the state's history, with 191 high school teams participating.
The girls' high school volleyball tournament next weekend will have 120 teams, up from 85 last year.
There have been challenges, though.
The games lost $100,000 this year in state funding that had been allotted from the tobacco settlement fund for the last two years.
But organizers said the money, which represents about a fifth of the event's $500,000 budget, has been made up through private fund-raising.
Dunn said the money has been arriving in all kinds of ways. Just last month, a Friends of the Games letter went out, and small donations were solicited, resulting in $17,000 in private contributions.
And Dunn said the games have more corporate sponsors than ever.
"What amazes us in these economic times is that people come up with the money," he said. "But they do. They want to see people continue to stay and play in Kentucky."
The games continue Sunday, with a number of events, including table tennis, bowling, flag football, golf and soccer.
Next weekend's schedule includes fencing and sailing in Louisville.