Competition draws seniors to Yukon

For the past week, more than 260 athletes have played pool, pickleball and basketball. They have lifted weights, shot arrows and jumped hurdles.

And each athlete is at least 50 years old.

The 17th annual Yukon Senior Games are set to conclude Saturday with table tennis and archery.

Events coordinator Tim Rhodes said the annual festivital of all things athletic has been a huge success.

Most of the scheduled events have occurred. A couple of activities, including 3-on-3 basketball and outdoor archery, did not receive enough entries and were canceled.

A track meet, which is normally held the second day of the games, was postponed after Mother Nature pulled a fast one and dropped the temperatures into 30s and brought with the cold temperatures some snow.

The track meet has been pushed to April 21, Rhodes said.

In addition, a softball competition that had been scheduled for this weekend has been moved to May 21 because of predicted high winds and cold temperatures, officials said.

Four teams are scheduled to play a round-robin event on May 21 and a bracketed tournament the following day in search of a gold medal.

“Everything has gone well. We’ve got a lot of repeat athletes,” Rhodes said of this year’s games.

The largest event, by far, is the pickleball tournament. That event draws more than 100 participants over a two-day period. And they come from across the nation to participate.

Pickleball is a combination of tennis and racketball played with a Wiffleball.

It is fast-paced and action-packed.

The track meet also draws a large crowd.

Rhodes said the athletes use the meet as an opportunity to see where they stand.

The event also is used as a warm-up for the state competition held later in the year.

This year’s oldest athlete is a pickleball player who is 90. The youngest is 50, which is the minimum age to participate.

Each of the events is broken into age categories.

Rhodes said the competitions are a way for people to stay active as they get older.

It’s not unusual to see seniors bowling or playing golf, but track and field in their 80s? They enjoy competing, but they like being active as they can at this age, he said.

“They have a good time,” Rhodes said.

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