By Terry Groover
Senior athletes from across several states converged on Yukon this week to compete in dozens of events as part of the Yukon Senior Games.
The competition began April 21 and was scheduled to conclude Saturday.
It included everything from track events to pickleball to archery.
Jan Scott, director of Yukon’s Parks and Recreation Department, said the games offer something for everyone.
The final day’s events include an archery tournament at Lakeview Elementary and table tennis matches at Jackie Cooper Gymnasium.
“We’re bringing in people from all over,” said Scott.
Scott said there are more than 220 participants in this year’s events, which have been held for at least 15 years.
“Live long and compete is kind of our theme. The longer you stay active, the more enriching life is,” she said.
In addition to providing competition for the athletes, it also is an opportunity to make new friends.
“The senior games are very social,” Scott said.
Gary Halverson, who was among those participating in the weightlifting competition, agrees.
“It’s about camaraderie,” the 72-year-old Oklahoma City resident said.
Halverson said he enjoys the competition with those who are his age.
“Working out requires some kind of motivation. … The motivation is why I go to the gym every day,” Halverson said.
John Sausins, 75, of Yukon, agreed.
“It makes me feel good. I like it,” Sausins.
Dennis Warren, Yukon’s athletic coordinator, said the games offer athletes an opportunity to stay active and connected to the sports they enjoy.
Many of those participating were once professionals who are looking for ways to continue to be competitive.
“It keeps your mind and your body sharp,” he said.
But many of the participants aren’t athletes. They are novices looking for a way to have a little fun and are very active in the senior games.
“It is something to get up and do. It is something to look forward to. The people are out here having fun,” Scott said.
And while the games are competitive, they also are an opportunity to be a cheerleader.
“You’ve got all these people here and everybody’s cheering for everybody. Nobody has given up. We’re all high on life. It’s fun to come and enjoy the camaraderie,” he said.