Age does not always take away
a competitive spirit, but opportunities to nourish that spirit are hard to come
by in the Wichita Falls area.
The North Texas Senior Games
will give anyone age 50 and older the chance to participate in athletic games and
other activities including basketball, billiards, bowling, dominoes/42, cycling
(5k, 10k, 20k time trials), golf, horseshoes, pickleball, swimming, table
tennis, tennis, track and field, and washers. The games will be held May 18-20
at Midwestern State University and other venues.
The games are returning to
North Texas after a 10-year break. The first North Texas Senior Games were held
in 1994 with 12 sports, which included basketball, swimming, horseshoes, and a
fishing rodeo. A group of community leaders wanted an event geared toward
active adults who were still interested in competing. Partnerships with Village
Bowl, Weeks Golf Course, Wichita Falls Independent School District, Hotter ’n
Hell Hundred, and the YMCA were formed that first year. The first three-day event
was a success and it became a staple of the fall in Wichita Falls until 2007,
the last year for the games.
Sandy Shawver, Assistant
Professor of Kinesiology at MSU Texas, and organizer of the games, chose the
senior games as the subject of her doctoral research. She worked with the National
Senior Games Association (NSGA), a nonprofit dedicated to promoting activities
that help adults lead an active lifestyle, to gather data and complete her
research. NSGA is the parent organization of the Texas Senior Games.
After earning her doctorate
while working at MSU Texas, Shawver knew it was time to bring the games back to
Wichita Falls. In fall 2016 a committee was formed of MSU faculty, staff and
administrators to plan for the games’ relaunch. “Those who were involved in the
past were excited to get back into it,” Shawver said. Additional sponsors
include KFDX-TV, Lunn’s Colonial Funeral Home, and T-Mobile.
Last May, a one-day Senior
Sports Festival was held on the MSU Texas campus and at Village Bowl to
re-introduce the games to the Wichita Falls community. Basketball, bowling,
horseshoes, pickleball, table tennis, and tennis were among the events in which
those older than age 50 could compete. Shawver said that pickleball is the nation’s
fastest growing sport. It is played on a badminton-sized court with a Wiffle ball
and paddles. “It’s easy to learn and a great way to maintain eye-hand
coordination,” Shawver said.
Last year’s event was small but
it did fan the flames to get a full slate of events for 2018. Although the
North Texas Senior Games are currently not qualifying events for the Texas
Senior Games, Shawver said that they would be excellent practice for those
interested in competing at a higher level.
Shawver said that many of the
registered participants are from out of town, and that’s a plus for MSU Texas and
other venues hosting events. “We’ll have people from all across the state
seeing the MSU Texas campus,” she said.
Registration runs until May 13.
The registration fee is $25, which includes an event shirt, two event entries
and the athlete social. Registering for more than two events will require an
additional $4 fee per event (except for golf). There is an additional of $20
for all golf participants. Additional event shirts may be purchased for $10
each. Gold, silver and bronze medals will be awarded in each event and age
For more information contact
Shawver at 940-397-4941 or visit ntsg.mwsu.edu/ or texasseniorgames.org/.