Athletes gather in Scottsdale to compete in Lori Piestewa Games


More than 3,800 athletes representing 94 tribes competed in the annual Lori Piestewa National Native American Games, in the east Valley this past weekend.

Athletes traveled to athletic complexes in Scottsdale, Tempe and surrounding areas to compete in youth baseball, softball, adult, boys and girls basketball, cross county, volleyball and wrestling July 21-23.

The opening ceremony on July 21 took place at Cicero Preparatory Academy in Scottsdale.

The games are named for Lori Piestewa, a U.S. Army soldier killed in Iraq in 2003. Ms. Piestewa, a Hopi from Tuba City, was the first Native American woman to die in combat while serving in the military.

Lori’s mother, Percy Piestewa was on-hand at the meetings to greet the athletes and present awards.

“Lori loved sports and her spirit lives on through these Games,” Percy said in a press release.

The Piestewa Games had humble origins, with only a few hundred athletes competing in Tuba City and Flagstaff. The games have flourished under the management of the Arizona Sports and Entertainment Commission and the support of University of Phoenix, APS and the Arizona Office of Tourism, the press release stated.

An estimated 17,000 spectators, mostly from outside Arizona, attended the games.

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