The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Local News

March 13, 2014

SENIOR GAMES

Record number sign up

Thursday, March 13, 2014 — They took their marks, they got set ... they signed up for the Senior Games.

A record-breaking 75 people raced to register for events ranging from 5K runs to checkers at this year’s kickoff for the event.

More than 10 of those were first-timers.

“Both are the highest we have seen for a first day,” Oliver Webster, superintendent of recreation for Albemarle Parks and Recreation, said.

Ann Barringer said she decided to participate when a friend told her many of the events involved the arts.

“I can’t do all the running, but I can do the crafts,” Barringer said.

The Silver Arts portion of the Senior Games accepts entries in categories ranging from knitting to watercolor to short story.

“They can even do the performing arts, music, drama,” Webster said.

There are plenty of athletic competitions as well.

Along with a full complement of track and field events, participants can sign up for swimming, croquet and basketball shooting.

“Me and my wife have done the cycling before,” Steve Gibson said.

“We had a great time.”

In order to keep the games up to date with what is popular, Webster said they have added two sports.

“Tennis has become very popular in the community,” he said.

“That’s been added.”

Pickle-ball, a tennis-like sport that takes place on a half size court with wooden paddles and a light weight ball, has also been added.

“It’s a sport that’s on the rise across the nation,” Webster said.

Anyone interested in trying it out can come to the Niven Center for free lessons at 5 p.m. Thursdays.

“Really it’s for anybody that’s interested, but we also thought it would be a good introduction for those who want to see how pickle-ball works before they sign up,” Webster said.

The pickle-ballers aren’t the only ones getting some advance practice in, though

Some of the runners said they’ve started preparing, too.

For the majority of the sports on the list (barring billiards, checkers, disc golf and putt-putt), winners can advance to state and national levels of competition.

Last year the 65 and over softball team placed second in the state.

Stanly residents Carol Gibson and Bill Hinson have gone to nationals for running long jump and horseshoes, respectively.

Veteran participant Demple Holbrook said no one should be fooled by that though.

“We really do it because we love having fun together,” she said.

Deborah Lowder said it was a good way to meet people.

Webster said he anticipates that their most popular events will remain the less taxing sports such as cornhole, shuffleboard and horseshoes.

Those interested in signing up can register at the Stanly County Senior Center, 263 N. Third St., Albemarle, or at the Jesse Niven Center, 1816-A E. Main St., Albemarle. Pre-registration is required and will end April 12.

Registration for returners is $15 ($35 for golf), but first-time participants are free.

Senior Games ambassadors are available to give presentations to civic groups or churches. Call Albemarle Parks and Rec at (704) 984-9560.

To submit story ideas, contact Shannon Beamon at (704) 982-2121 ext. 24 or at shannon@stanlynewspress.com.

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