Athletics of all types can be easily found in the Kearney area, with a host of leagues, clubs and associations available to athletes of all ages. Area schools, from elementary through university level, give students the opportunity to participate in such sports as basketball, football, baseball, softball, volleyball, soccer, swimming, tennis and track.
The Kearney Park and Recreation Department (KPR) operates a public 18-hole golf course. Meadowlark Hills Golf Course is a championship course featuring beautiful views of the Platte River Valley. In addition to the well-maintained course is a driving range and putting green, as well as the opportunity to take advantage of professional golf lessons. Kearney is also in proximity to several additional golf courses, not operated by the KPR. These courses include the family-owned Prairie Hills Golf Course, Buffalo Hills Golf Course, the private Kearney Country Club, Kearney Elks Country Club and Awarii Dunes.
The Nebraska School Activities Association (NSAA) has held, and continues to hold, a number of events within Kearney, including the Cross Country, Debate, Boys Golf, Play Production and Speech state championships.
The University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK) offers 16 NCAA Division II intercollegiate sports, each competing in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC). UNK regained the RMAC All-Sports Competition Cup after their 11-year reign was broken last year. This makes the 12th time in school history the Lopers have won the cup. For those looking to play for fun, the university offers a full range of intramural sports, including flag football, indoor soccer, volleyball, softball, basketball, racquetball, tennis, water polo and wallyball.
A member of the United States Hockey League (USHL)—an amateur league for leading hockey players between the ages of 16 and 20—Tri-City Storm Hockey strives every regular season to claim the coveted Anderson Cup Title—last received in the 2003-2004 season. The Anderson Cup is an accolade given to the team holding the best record in the USHL. Upon a successful regular season, the team has the chance to take the highest reward, the Clark Cup, in the playoff round. Games are held at the 5,000-seat Viaero Event Center.
The UNK-Health and Sports Center and the new Kearney Catholic Cope Coliseum each play host to Mr. Basketball and Miss Basketball youth and high school tournaments and events, drawing in a number of teams from up to 20 states, plus hundreds of college scouts and coaches from all over the country. In 2008, more than 800 teams will participate in these tournaments organized by Mr. Basketball, Inc.
The Nebraska State Senior Games, held in the Kearney community, was created for people 50 years of age and older to participate in friendly competition each year. The assortment of events include archery, bowling, cycling, golf, disc golf, tennis, table tennis, badminton, wellness walk, road race, swimming, horseshoes, billiards, track and field, free throw shooting, and 3-on-3 basketball.
Kearney stands as a qualifying site for the National Senior Games. This qualifying happens each even-numbered year in the city.