(Editor's note: BSSG release)
BILLINGS - Olympian and former World Cup mountain bike racer Sam Schultz will be the special guest athlete of the 35th Annual Big Sky State Games Opening Ceremonies Friday, July 17th at Wendy’s Field at Daylis Stadium in Billings.
The 2012 London Olympic Games participant will speak and light the Big Sky State Games caldron, officially kicking off Montana’s 2020 State Games. Festivities will be live streamed including the Montana Mile and torch lighting with limited spectators. Updates on current Big Sky State Games events are available at bigskygames.org.
Schultz grew up in Missoula, MT. His racing career began at a young age as a family affair, being inspired by his uncle and competing regionally along with his brother. National success propelled Schultz onto the U.S. Cycling XCO U-23 development team and a spot on the Subaru/Trek World Cup Cycling Team. After three-years of competing on the World Cup Tour, Schultz won the 2012 XCO National Championship, landing himself a position on the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team. Inspired by a large contingent of family and friends, Schultz finished 15th at the 2012 London Olympic Games, It is an experience he highly cherishes. Sam enjoys still being active in the sport as an ambassador for Rocky Mountain Bikes and 7 Mesh Clothing.
After experiencing some injury set-backs in 2013-2014, including two back surgeries, Schultz still competes periodically while focusing on mentoring and building up his Montana Interscholastic Cycling League. M.I.C.A. began in 2017 as a means of promoting mountain biking with an assembly of instructor led, local teams featuring low-key competitive racing. M.I.C.A. currently carries eight teams throughout the state with over 315 riders. Sam hopes to build off this early success to propel cycling in Montana to national recognition, keeping in mind relaxation and fun for the riders is fundamental to their success; “Remembering to keep it fun is incredibly important,” Schultz recognizes. “I have discovered that the more fun I have the faster I ride. I’m not sure how that exactly works out, but I am not going to argue with it.” Schultz will be offering a clinic on Friday, July 17 at Acton Recreational Area for riders 18 years of age and under in addition to fulfilling his torch lighting honors.