The 2019 Department of Defense Warrior Games are on the way to Tampa, bringing comedian Jon Stewart, country stars Hunter Hayes and Sara Evans and a parade of wounded warriors in an Olympic-style procession.
Tickets for opening and closing ceremonies go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday via Ticketmaster. The Warrior Games are June 21-30. All of the Paralympic-style events at venues around the Tampa Bay area are free and open to the public.
Tickets to the ceremonies are $15. The kickoff event at Amalie Arena on June 22 includes a concert by platinum-selling country artist Hayes (Wanted, Invisible) and an appearance from former Daily Show host Stewart, a longtime supporter of the Warrior Games. Evans (Born to Fly, Suds in the Bucket) will headline the closing ceremonies on June 30 at Amalie, with Stewart on hand again to hand out awards.
The opening ceremony will feature the lighting of the official cauldron and introductions of more than 300 athletes, representing teams from five branches of the U.S. military and five allied countries.
In between those ceremonies are competitions in 14 sports including, archery, cycling, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, track and field, wheelchair basketball, and for the first time in Warrior Games history, rugby, tennis and golf. There will be 13 metaled competition and an exhibition of mountain biking.
Ten teams of up to 40 athletes are composed of veterans and active service members. Five international teams are from Canada, the UK, Australia, Netherlands and Denmark.
Events will be held at the University of South Florida, the Tampa Convention, Clearwater's Long Aquatic Center and other athletic venues in the area. Find a schedule at dodwarriorgames.com
"The best thing we can do as a community is to pack those stands for every event," said Warrior Games spokesman Travis Claytor. "These are our wounded warriors and they deserve your support. We want people cheering these athletes on."
Contact Sharon Kennedy Wynne at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @SharonKWn.