Hundreds of Macon County seniors and volunteers gathered at the county’s recreation park last Monday to kick off the 21st annual Macon County Senior Games. The ceremony welcomed several guest speakers, entertainment from Men Macon Music, and exhibitions by Tai Chi demonstrator Mary Ann Ingram. The event marked the beginning of another year of fun games and competition for local seniors.
The event gives seniors the opportunity to compete, have fun, and engage in rigorous exercise. Senior Games Coordinator Sarah Wilkins said that the games enable “our seniors to stay fit and allows them to be active in the community.” Wilkins also emphasized how the games are important in that, “it gives everyone involved the chance to show how much we care and appreciate our senior citizens who have done so much for us.”
The phrase of “Fun, Fellowship, and Fitness” is more than just a slogan, but the motto accurately summarizes what the Macon County Senior Games truly represent.
The games will officially begin Monday, April 25. Participants will have the chance to compete in events such as archery, badminton, bowling, corn hole, horseshoes, swimming and a 5K race, just to name a few. Contestants also have the opportunity to enter a literary and visual arts contest to showcase their artistic talents.
Betty Healy, a Macon County Senior Games participant since 1992, said the best thing about the Senior Games is “the fellowship of people and the feeling of belonging that it provides.” Healy, who is 90 years young, manages to compete in badminton, table-tennis, and a fishing exercise known as spin-casting.
Competition is fierce at the Senior Games. The senior athletes who win in their events are rewarded with an opportunity to compete in the State Finals in September. As a testimony to their success, Macon County brought more athletes per capita to the State Finals than any other county in the state, which is a remarkable feat considering Macon County’s senior population relative to other North Carolina counties. However, the games represent more than just winning and advancing to the State competition.
What started out as a simple event in 1990 has evolved into much more two decades later. Wilkins noted how the games represent more than basic competition. “Our organization helps coordinate an event at Macon Valley Nursing Home. We also help provide food for CareNet and we co-sponsor a health fair that will provide our seniors with free health-screenings.” Many of the senior citizens competing in the games volunteer to assist with these community-wide efforts that benefit all of Macon County citizens, not just seniors.
The 2011 games gives anybody 55 or older a chance to display their athletic and artistic talents. The games officially get under way April 25 and will close with an awards ceremony on May 14 at the Mill Creek Country Club. Family, friends, and fans are all invited to share in the fun.