Senior games

PHOTO BY CHARLES A. BAKER III

Claudette Braswell, right, helps Gail Nolan carry the torch during the opening ceremony of the 2019 Polk Senior Games on Feb. 23, 2019, at All Saints Academy in Winter Haven. 

 

POLK COUNTY – Last year, around 2,500 Polk County area residents registered for the Polk Senior Games. Registration for the 28th Annual Polk Senior Games is now open.

“The games offer a two-week series of 100 athletic and recreational Olympic-style events,” Polk Senior Games Executive Director Deena Wilbur said. “They attract over 2,500 men and women, 50 years and over, with a variety of skills — the serious competitor, the fun at heart, the seasoned athlete, the late bloomer and the physically challenged.

“The purpose of the Games,” she went on, “is to promote friendly competition, fellowship, health and wellness, an active lifestyle and volunteerism.”

The opening ceremony is scheduled for Leap Year Day — February 29 — and the games run through March 16.

This isn’t just a one-off local event, either. Each year, thousands of volunteers in 22 Florida communities host Senior Games events. Medal winners in most senior games sports qualify to enter the Florida Senior Games and, later, the National Senior Games — both being held in Fort Lauderdale in December and November, respectively, this year.

Last year, almost 14,000 seniors from across the United States participated in the National Senior Games in Albuquerque, N.M.

In Polk County, those who want to participate can call 863-533-0055 or email polkseniorgames50@gmail.com for more information.

The Lake Senior Games kick off April 4 in Clermont. Contact Gary Perigo at 352-356-6544 for more details.

The individual entry fee is $10 for the first event and $3 for each additional event, up to a maximum of $28. Fees for team sports are $125 for softball, $36 for bowling, $50 for 3-on-3 basketball. There is also a facility fee for 18-hole golf, bowling, archery and competitive shooting. Everyone receives a specially designed t-shirt. A free closing celebration event for participants, family and friends is held at the RP Funding Center and includes goody bags, a health fair, entertainment, special awards and door prizes.

The Games are financially sponsored by Publix Super Markets Charities, the Homer and Annette Thompson Legacy, the James W. Sikes Family, CPS Investment Advisors, Humana + Best Value Healthcare and several others.

Contact Charles A. Baker III at cbaker@d-r.media.