State Games Loom Ahead

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With 28 sports and over 5,000 athletes expected, the games have a huge economic impact on the Meridian area. It's set for June 18-20 and June 24-27.

"We did an economic impact report in 2002 and we found out that Meridian makes over $5.5 million in benefits from the tourists that come into Meridian," said Leah Reed.

Hotel rooms for the first weekend typically fill every local motel and hotel, with some athletes staying as far as 60 miles away.

Bellsouth also chooses its sportsman and sportswoman of the year.