Sports in Columbia, Missouri: A Hub for Annual Sporting Events

Columbia, Missouri is a vibrant city known for its rich history, beautiful parks, and thriving arts scene. As an expert in the sports industry, I can confidently say that this city has much more to offer for sports enthusiasts. From college sports to community events, Columbia hosts a variety of annual sporting events that attract both locals and visitors alike.

The Roots of Sports in Columbia

Sports have been an integral part of Columbia's culture for decades. The city is home to the University of Missouri, which has a long-standing tradition of excellence in athletics.

The university's football team, the Missouri Tigers, has a loyal fan base and competes in the highly competitive Southeastern Conference (SEC).But it's not just college sports that thrive in Columbia. The city also has a strong community sports scene, with various leagues and events for all ages and skill levels. This combination of college and community sports makes Columbia a hub for athletic activities.

The Annual Show-Me State Games

One of the most highly anticipated annual sporting events in Columbia is the Show-Me State Games. This multi-sport festival was first held in 1985 and has since become one of the largest state games in the country. The Show-Me State Games feature over 40 different sports, including basketball, soccer, swimming, and even pickleball.

The event attracts thousands of athletes from all over Missouri and neighboring states, making it a true celebration of sportsmanship and competition. What sets the Show-Me State Games apart from other sporting events is its emphasis on inclusivity. The games are open to athletes of all ages and skill levels, making it a great opportunity for beginners to try out a new sport or for seasoned athletes to showcase their talents.

The True/False Film Festival's March March

While not a traditional sporting event, the March March is a unique and beloved event that combines athleticism and creativity. This 5K race is part of the annual True/False Film Festival, a documentary film festival that takes place in Columbia every March. The March March is not your average 5K race. Participants are encouraged to dress up in creative costumes and run, walk, or dance their way through the course.

The event also features live music and interactive art installations along the route, making it a one-of-a-kind experience. What started as a small event has now grown to attract thousands of participants each year. The March March embodies the spirit of Columbia - fun, quirky, and full of community spirit.

The Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival

Music, food, and sports - what more could you ask for? The Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival is an annual event that brings together these three elements for a weekend of fun and entertainment. The festival features live music from local and national artists, mouth-watering BBQ from some of the best pitmasters in the country, and a 10K and half marathon race. The race takes runners through scenic downtown Columbia and finishes at the festival grounds, where they can enjoy the festivities after their run. The Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival is not just about the music and food - it also supports local charities and organizations. Over the years, the festival has raised thousands of dollars for various causes, making it a feel-good event for both participants and organizers.

College Sports Galore

As mentioned earlier, college sports are a big part of Columbia's sports scene.

The University of Missouri's football team may be the most well-known, but the city also hosts a variety of other college sporting events throughout the year. The Mizzou Tigers also have successful basketball, baseball, and softball teams that draw in large crowds. The Stephens College and Columbia College athletic programs also offer a range of sports for fans to enjoy. Attending a college sporting event in Columbia is not just about watching the game - it's about experiencing the lively atmosphere and showing support for the local teams.


Columbia, Missouri may not be the first city that comes to mind when you think of sports, but it has a thriving sports scene that offers something for everyone. From the annual Show-Me State Games to the unique March March and the popular Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival, there is no shortage of sporting events to attend in this vibrant city. Whether you're a die-hard sports fan or just looking for a fun and unique experience, Columbia has you covered. So next time you're planning a trip to Missouri, be sure to check out these annual sporting events and see for yourself why Columbia is a top destination for sports enthusiasts.

Grady Wehrs
Grady Wehrs

Freelance bacon advocate. Award-winning pop culture ninja. Total food nerd. Alcohol fan. Amateur coffee scholar.