Fourth of July Sports Competitions
Thousands of guests from around the world attended the Independence Day celebration held in Blanding the past week. The five-day celebration started on June 30 and concluded on the fifth of July.
Guests had the opportunity to savor some of the area’s best food, enjoy games, contests, and sporting events and buy crafts from local vendors.
“It is a signature event for families,” said Blanding City Manager Jeremy Redd. “Everyone who attends recognizes and celebrates the freedoms we enjoy as Americans.”
Spectators witnessed one of the largest firework shows in Blanding history – the second-largest show in the State of Utah for the 2018 celebration.
The firework show lasted 22 minutes and was synchronized to music.
The parade is said to have been one of the best in Blanding history.
Cheers and laughter filled the streets as fire trucks sprayed down kids, and candy was thrown.
A pre-parade flyover was provided by Eagle Air Med/Guardian Flight, and was accompanied with a Beechcraft KingAir aircraft.
This year’s parade champion float was provided by San Juan Health Services. Second place went to Utah Navajo Health Systems, and was followed by Utah State University in third place.
Honorable Mention went to Redd’s Ace / Subway and Four Corners Regional Care Center. Trophies will be awarded to the winners at an upcoming Blanding City Council meeting.
Rustlers Revenge, a melodrama directed by Steve Olsen, was performed five different times throughout the week. This series of performances brought hundreds of viewers to the Blanding Arts and Event Center.
The first of many sports tournaments took place on July 3, beginning with the Mini-Madness Softball tournament. This year, 12 teams completed more than 60 games. The winning team was sponsored by Northern Electric in Blanding.
The winning team included Maddax Lee, Jeter Perkins, Landon Black, Garrett Young, Jackson Jones, Collin Baker, Brighton Johnson, Hallie Palmer, Kennedi Johnson, Avina Cordova, and Adriana Johnson.
San Juan High Basketball teams sponsored a 3-on-3 basketball tournament. Winners of the Women’s bracket included T’yana Harry, Shania Harry and Avery Begay. Champions for the men’s bracket included Kade Palmer, Dequan Lopez, Median Barton, and Keaton Hiatt. Teen winners included Nate Grover, Ladd Ivins, and Jensen Grover.
20 teams competed in the Shane Warenski Memorial Midnight Madness Softball Tournament. All of them were taken down by Diamond C Fuels, who won their sixth championship in the past eight years. The tourney ran for almost twelve hours, finishing just before 6 a.m. on the Fourth.
“All the teams this year were very courteous and easy to get along with,” said event director Ryan Palmer. “The tournament could not have gone smoother.”
New records were set in both the men’s and women’s category of the Firecracker 5K. 148 athletes finished, while more than 50 others participated in the 1 mile fun run.
San Juan Theater sponsored a Beat My Time award in memory of Danelle Mendoza, where the woman runner with the time closest to Mendoza’s fastest time won. Olivia Morley received this award, finishing two seconds off Mendoza’s time.
Engaged couple and Southern Utah University Cross Country Athletes, Jacob Francis and Maddy Kauffman won the event for both the men’s and women’s 5K categories. Francis beat the previous course record of 17:33 with a time of 17:14, and Kauffman smashed the previous record of 19:18 with a time of 17:53.
Blanding held its first tennis tournament for singles, doubles, and beginners. 25 participants made this two-day event a major success. Clay Parson, a high school student from San Diego, won the the singles tournament. Father and son-in-law duo, Rodger Hill and Colton Cook, left as champions of the doubles bracket. The beginner tennis event was won by siblings Ashton, Luke, Nick and Ember Jones.
San Juan High Volleyball hosted the annual co-ed volleyball tournament. 18 teams competed in this rigorous tournament, but only one team rose to the top. Team Slavens walked away as champions.
Five teams competed in the 7-on-7 Football tournament sponsored by the San Juan High Football team. Diamond C Fuels took home the gold as they defeated the Sheriff’s Department in the championship game. Winners included Barkley Christensen, Bobby and Brittain Bowring, Logan Meyer, Ammon Mitchell, Justin Nielson, Cobey Christensen, Nate Einerson and Kyle Marian.
This Fourth of July celebration will be one of the most memorable summer events in San Juan County, as it was a highlight for those living in and returning to Blanding.
“The people of Blanding and San Juan County are what make this event special,” stated Blanding City Manager Jeremy Redd. “We hope to continue to make it bigger and better every year.”