by Madison V. Fisler
April 23, 2014. The North Carolina Senior Games first began in 1983 with a vision to promote healthy living to citizens aged 50 years and older all across the state. With more than 50 activities, art events and athletic contests, the 25th annual High Country Senior Games are scheduled to be held May 1-June 7.
The High Country Senior Games will showcase athletes from Watauga, Mitchell, Avery, Yancy and Ashe counties who are 50 years of age and better.
Events at this year’s games include track and field, performing and visual arts, tennis, swimming, horseshoes, golf, bowling, billiards, basketball, softball, shuffleboard, bocce, table tennis, racquetball and much more.
“We usually have between 175 and 200 participants,” said Holly Gates, Athletics Director at Watauga Parks and Recreation.
“We have SilverArts, which includes visual arts, heritage, performing and literary arts, with 40 events in itself. There are also about 40 athletic events.”
The events are held across Boone and Avery County.
The schedule of events is as follows:
- Thursday, May 1 – Cycling 1 mile, 5K and 10 K (Freedom High School)
- Tuesday, May 6 – Enter SilverArts visual entries (Appalachian Brian Estates)
- Friday, May 9 – Horseshoes, Corn Hole and Table Tennis (Appalachian Brian Estates)
- Monday, May 19 – Bowling (doubles and mixed doubles) (Boone Bowling Center)
- Tuesday, May 20 – 1,500 Meter Race (Watauga High School)
- Wednesday, May 21 – 800 Meter Run, 1,500 Meter Run, 5K Race Walk (Watauga High School)
- Thursday, May 22 – Bowling Singles at Boone Bowling Center and Billiards (Family Billiards Country Retreat)
- Tuesday, May 27 – Grand Celebration Banquet and SilverArts Visual Display
- Wednesday, May 28 – Pickeball Expo and Tournament (Avery Recreation), Shuffleboard tournament (Linville Land Harbor), Volleyball (Old Cove Creek Gym), Softball (Complex 1 softball field WCP&P)
- Thursday May 29 – Track and Field Events (Watauga High School)
- Saturday, May 31 – Kids 1 Mile Fun Run, 5K Road Race (Greenway Trail)
- Monday, June 2 – Golf (Boone Golf Course)
- Wednesday, June 4 – Swimming (Watauga Swim Complex), Raquetball (Paul Broyhill Wellness Center), Basketball (Paul Broyhill Wellness Center)
- Saturday, June 7 – Tennis (Linville Land Harbor)
This year, also, has a few changes.
“This is the first year that we have dropped the age to 50, in previous years it has always been 55,” said Gates.
“We have had requests to drop the age limit for years, because at nationals it is ages 50 and over. So we dropped it to comply with nationals and send our athletes to nationals.”
Also new this year is Pickleball, the fastest growing athletic event for people over 50.
The High Country Games is just one of 52 games offered throughout North Carolina. At the local games, participants have the opportunity to qualify for the N.C. State Finals held annually in the state capital. Those who participate in the Raleigh State Finals have a chance to qualify for the National Senior Games which are held every two years.
Registration for the High Country Games is being accepted at the Watauga County Parks and Recreation Office. Registration before May 10 qualifies athletes for the Early Bird registration fee of $10. After May 1, registration for each participant is $12.
The High Country Senior Games are sponsored by Dianne Davant & Associates, Hardee’s and Appalachian/Brian Estates Rental Retirement Community.
For more information about the High Country Senior Games, call the Watauga County Parks and Recreation Department at 828-264-9511 or visit www.NCSeniorGames.org.
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