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Visalia 2017 Senior Games Schedule Announced

 

You know that the softball competition is fierce when seniors slide in short pants.

The 2017 Visalia Senior Games, the Central Valley's only senior games, will be held at various locations in Visalia on March 16-19 and 24-26.

The inaugural Senior Games, which were held in October 2015, were considered a success, attracting athletes from 50 California cities. A total of 237 athletes participated, including some traveling from as far as Oregon and Texas.

"We're excited about hosting this event, as we have the potential to see hundreds of local participants and seniors from throughout the state," said Jeannie Greenwood, City of Visalia Parks and Recreation Department recreation manager.

"We are expecting about 1,000 seniors to participate," said Maggie Kalar, recreation supervisor. "One of the main reasons we are expecting more athletes is that we added more events, and track & field and swimming have multiple events."

"Trap shoot has been added and has almost taken off like wildfire," said Holly Ellis, Senior Games coordinator. "It had the most registrations in the first week of registration being open."

The upcoming games will also include "exhibition sports." These sports will also award their winners in the same way that the other sports do. The only difference is that these sports are not considered sports in the National Senior Games. Exhibition sports will include darts, cornhole and Texas hold'em.

The Senior Games schedule has been designed to accommodate athletes from other areas, as well as makes things more convenient for local participants.

"Any sport that is more than one day will be held over one weekend so people don't have to worry about coming in one weekend to compete and coming back the next weekend for finals," said Kalar.

There will be two main social events at the 2017 Senior Games. The Saturday Night Social in Garden Street Plaza on March 18 will feature door prizes, hors d'ouevres and dancing to music by Borrowed Time. The Texas Hold'Em Social at the Anthony Community Center on March 25 will include prizes and dancing to music by the Dirty Poppas.

Registration opened on November 28, and those interested in competing in the Senior Games can register one of two ways.

"They can either walk in to the office (345 N. Jacob St., Visalia) and request a paper registration form or they can register online," said Kalar. "We accept American Express, Visa, MasterCard and Discover, and we will also accept checks."

"Competitors in some sports can register onsite," said Ellis.

While early registration is required for most sports, registration will be accepted through check-in on the day of the event for the 5k/10k Road Race and the Race Walk. Registration will be accepted on the day of the event as space allows for swimming, track & field and trap shoot competitions, but registration in advance is recommended mainly because minimum numbers must be met to hold some of these events.

March 3 is the deadline to register for the following sports: disc golf, horseshoes, soccer, pickleball, softball, tennis, table tennis and volleyball.

March 3 is also the deadline to register for archery, bowling and golf, but late registration will be accepted as space allows.

The growing popularity of pickleball made it one of the most competitive sports at the 2015 games.

There are other ways to get involved in the 2017 Senior Games besides competing.

"We have a few sponsors, but we are looking for a few more," said Kalar. "In order to host the event, we need to have the support of the community. We are very appreciative of all the sponsors who have come forward for the event. Their support means the success of this event.

For more information about competing or becoming a volunteer or sponsor, visit http://www.visaliaseniorgames.com, or contact the Visalia Parks and Recreation Department at (559) 713-4395 or recreation@visalia.city. The website has a registration form, rules for each event, and photos and results from the 2015 Visalia Senior Games.

Those interested in volunteering can also call Laurissa Roggenkamp, volunteer coordinator, at (559) 713-4365.

 

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