The 18th annual Show-Me State Games will kick off in Columbia today. Officials expect at least 35,000 competitors to participate in the amateur events. The games will feature five new events, which should only add to the number of athletes. Competition will take place over the next three weekends to accomodate the expanded festivities. Opening ceremonies tonight will feature a speech from former Missouri Tiger/Detroit Lion Demetrious Johnson. The caldron will be lit by U.S. decathatlon champion Kip Janvrin, who also serves as co-track coach at CMSU. In the first Show-Me State Games, in 1985, there were 600 competitors.