Frontline Responders: Carolyn Smith

Published: Jun. 5, 2023 at 12:35 PM CDT
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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - The State Games of Mississippi have become a way of life for Carolyn Smith. For 32 years, the state’s largest amateur sports fest has been hosted by the city of Meridian, and Carolyn has been a fixture since the inaugural games back in 1992.

From humble beginnings over three decades ago, Carolyn has seen the State Games grow from just 12 sports with 1200 athletes to over 40 sports and over five thousand athletes from every corner of the Magnolia State.

“I think they can’t do without me,” said Smith. " I think they know they can but I kind of keep that in my head that they really can’t do without me. I work a couple of days a week. Of course during the games I work a little bit more than that but I enjoy it.”

Carolyn has served as a board member on the State Games, as Executive Director and now serves as a consultant. She says without question, her favorite part her job is meeting the athletes and enjoying the opening ceremonies which draw thousands of visitors to downtown to Meridian.

“It’s just really a wonderful event and everybody who comes says the same thing,” Smith said. “Every Saturday when we visit the venues, everyone says something about how wonderful the show was the night before and that’s what we want to hear and we’re proud of that.”

“Watching Carolyn work is like watching an artist paint because of the way she interacts with her vendors and how she interacts with her clients and her sponsors and we, the people, the public, get to see the end result of this beautiful painting.” That was according to Mark Cheplowitz, who has worked directly with Carolyn for over 30 years as Executive Director and Owner of the Wizard of Ahs Events Company, which produces the Opening Ceremonies of the State Games of Mississippi.

“Her knowledge of the games is great,” said Sonja Rowell of the State Games. “We rely on her so much to get us through each year it seems like. We enjoy having her around and glad she stayed on as a consultant and hope she’ll continue to do that.” “I love State Games,” added Smith.  “I really do. I kind of feel like it’s my baby and i hope it continues to grow as it has in the past.”