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 gives
everyone age 50 and older the chance to participate in athletic events and
other activities including basketball, billiards, bowling, dominoes/42, cycling
(5k, 10k, and 20k time trials), golf, horseshoes, pickleball, swimming, table
tennis, tennis, track and field, and washers. The games will be held May 16-18
at Midwestern State University and other local venues. Cycling events will be
held on June 2.
In 1994, a group of community
leaders wanted an event geared toward active adults who were still interested
in competing. Partnerships were formed with Village Bowl, Weeks Park Golf
Course, Wichita Falls Independent School District, North Texas Rehabilitation
Center, Wichita Falls Parks and Recreation, and the YMCA that continue to grow
stronger today. The first three-day event was a success and it became a staple
of the fall in Wichita Falls until 2007. After more than a decade away, the Senior
Games returned as the Senior Sports Festival in 2017.
Sandy Shawver, Assistant
Professor of Kinesiology at MSU Texas and organizer of the games, works with
the National Senior Games Association (NSGA), a nonprofit dedicated to
promoting activities that help adults lead an active lifestyle. NSGA is the
parent organization of the Texas Senior Games.
Shawver said that many of the
registered participants are from out of town, and that’s a plus for the
university and other venues hosting events. “We’ll have people from all across
the state seeing the MSU Texas campus,” she said. Last year’s games drew contestants
from as far away as Houston and Tulsa, with track and field events having the
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. The Wichita Falls Country Club, YMCA, and
Wichita Falls Parks and Recreation have pickleball leagues.
The North Texas Senior Games
are currently not qualifying events for the Texas Senior Games, but Shawver
said that they are excellent practice for those interested in competing at a
higher level. This event will be one of the last opportunities for those
competing at nationals in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Registration runs until May 15.
The registration fee is $25, which includes an event shirt, two event entries
and the athlete social. Registration for bowling, cycling, and golf may be done
on site. Registering for more than two events will require an additional $4 fee
per event (except for golf). There is an additional of $25 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 group.
An athlete social will be held
Friday, May 17, at the 50 Plus Zone on the second floor of the Wichita Falls
Public Library at 600 11th St. Additional sponsors include KFDX-TV, Art of
Dentistry, and United Regional Health Care System.
For more information contact
Shawver at 940-397-4941 or visit the North
Texas Senior Games website.