Seven Nominees from Miller Sports Properties on Ballot for Governor’s State of Sports Awards

by Bill Lea

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SALT LAKE CITY (March 18, 2014) – Ranging from the Utah Jazz and the Salt Lake Bees to Miller Motorsports Park and the Tour of Utah, Miller Sports Properties has seven nominees for the Governor’s State of Sports Awards hosted by the Utah Sports Commission.

Online voting by the fans is available at and continues through April 16 at midnight. The public can vote once per day for their favorites. The awards are for the 2013 calendar year and include high school female athlete, high school male athlete, female collegiate or pro athlete, male collegiate athlete, male professional athlete, team of the year, play or highlight of the year, game/event of the year and coach of the year.

Utah Jazz players Derrick Favors and Trey Burke each received nominations. Favors’ game-winning putback dunk with 2.1 seconds remaining to defeat the Los Angeles Lakers 105-103 last December is one of the candidates for “Highlight of the Year.” Favors finished the game with 18 points and 14 rebounds.

Starting at point guard in his first NBA season, Burke is among the nominees for the “Professional or Olympic Male Athlete of the Year.” He was named the NBA’s Western Conference Rookie of the Month in December, joining Karl Malone as only the second player in Jazz history to win that honor. Burke had a career-high 30 points, eight assists and seven rebounds against Orlando on Dec. 18.

Manager Keith Johnson of the Salt Lake Bees is in the running for “Coach of Year” after capturing Pacific Coast League Manager of Year honors. Named the best PCL managerial prospect by Baseball America, Johnson is in his fourth year as manager of the Bees and his 11th in the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim organization. He guided the MiLB Triple-A affiliate Salt Lake Bees, who are nominated as the “Team of the Year.” The Bees advanced to the PCL Finals after winning the division championship and making their first playoff appearance since 2008 with a 78-66 record.

Miller Sports Properties has two nominees in the “Game or Event of the Year” category with the Tour of Utah men’s professional cycling stage race and the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship at Miller Motorsports Park. The six-day, 586-mile Tour of Utah expanded to southern Utah for the first time racing from Cedar City to Park City, bringing 122 athletes from 32 countries including five teams from the Tour de France. An international television audience in 49 countries witnessed a thrilling win by Tom Danielson of Team Garmin-Sharp on the final day of racing.

The inaugural Built Ford Tough Utah National, Round 11 of the 12-round Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship was the first professional outdoor motocross event to be held in the State of Utah since 1973. The event took place on a brand-new, state-of-the-art motocross track at Miller Motorsports Park and was the highest attended stop on the series this year with 22,000 fans in Tooele.

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Motocross superstar Ryan Villopoto captured the event at Miller Motorsports Park to be nominated for the “Highlight of the Year.” Villopoto proved to be the best rider in the 450 Class as he swept the races at the Built Ford Tough Utah National and won his second overall championship in three years.

Honorees will be announced April 22 at the Governor’s State of Sport Awards Dinner at EnergySolutions Arena. Golf legend, renowned course designer, global ambassador and philanthropist Jack Nicklaus will be the special guest, and will be joined by championship golfers Johnny Miller and Billy Casper on stage for a Q&A to entertain those in attendance at the awards dinner. The event will also pay tribute to several Team USA Olympians and Paralympians, who live and train in Utah, for their accomplishments at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.

All the nominees were selected by a committee comprised of members of the sports media and community at large. For tickets or sponsorship information regarding the Governor’s State of Sport Awards Dinner, call the Utah Sports Commission at (801) 328-2372.