|Registration extended for North Texas Senior Games|
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 most competitors.
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.