2015 Visalia Senior Games Likely to Exceed Expectations
Last updated 9/16/2015 at 8:42pm | View PDF
Response to the 2015 Visalia Senior Games, the first event of its kind for seniors in the South Valley, has been "real good," according to Allison Lambert, recreation supervisor for the Visalia Parks and Recreation Department. "Right now (as of September 4), we have just under 100 athletes registered."
When they started, members of the Senior Games committee had no idea how many seniors would participate in the first year of the event. "The feedback we got was 50 would be great for the first year," said Lambert. "I think now our dream number is 300."
That dream number could become a reality, now that the event was announced statewide on August 31. "There's already been a big influx of phone calls and emails," said Lambert.
Although the committee refers to those who register in the games as "athletes," they explained that "participants" is a more accurate term. "The word 'athlete' can be intimidating, and you don't have to be a retired pro to be able to come out," said Lambert.
"We welcome participants of all abilities and all levels," added Recreation Supervisor Jason Glick.
The 2015 Visalia Senior Games are open to all men and women 50 and over. The nine areas of competition are archery, bowling, golf, horseshoes, pickleball, softball, table tennis, tennis and the 5K/10K road race. Competition in each sport will be divided into age groups, and most of the games will be held at Plaza Park.
So far, the sport with the most registrants is pickleball, "hands down" according to Glick. Next is tennis, followed by the 5K/10K road race.
To register for the games – or for more information – visit http://www.visaliaseniorgames.com. There is a $25 registration fee for all participants, with individual entry fees for the competitions ranging from $10 for horseshoes to $75 for golf. The deadline to register is Thursday, October 8.
"Every athlete will receive an event T-shirt and if they place (first, second or third), they get a medal," said Lambert, who added that spectators are welcome at all events. "They can come out to support the participants. We're happy to have them to cheer them on."
Free healthy snacks and water will be available to all participants. The committee is currently lining up vendors to offer food and beverages for sale to spectators.
The Opening Ceremony Celebration at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, October 21 at Riverway Sports Park, 3611 N. Dinuba Blvd., Visalia, will kick off the inaugural Visalia Senior Games. The ceremony will feature comments by local VIPs, and be followed by a parade of athletes, community booths, a barbecue, entertainment and a torch lighting. The event is free for registered athletes, $10 for non-athletes.
The competition schedule starts at 9 a.m. on Thursday, October 22 with men's singles tennis, bowling, table tennis, horseshoes and softball. The Friday events include women's singles tennis, horseshoes, softball, women's doubles pickleball, table tennis and a Friday Evening Social at Garden Street Plaza at 7 p.m. Archery, the 5K/10K road race, golf and men's doubles pickleball are set for Saturday. Sunday wraps up the Senior Games with archery, golf and mixed doubles pickleball.
Volunteers are needed before, during and after the games. "We are looking for volunteers for specific events, for setting up tables and chairs, setting up nets and taking them down, and for setting up refreshment tables," said Glick. He added that volunteers are also needed before the event to prepare packets.
For information about becoming a volunteer, a vendor or a participant, visit http://www.visaliaseniorgames.com or call 713-4365.