You’re never too old to play.
A group of spirited senior citizens in Ashe County understand this as they prepare for the annual High Country Senior Games, starting May 18 in Watauga County.
In their 60s, 70s, 80s and even 90s, these seniors will be tossing footballs, softballs, bocce balls and horseshoes, playing shuffleboard and billiards, slinging shotput and discus, spincasting, bowling, golfing, walking and running in the games that bring seniors together from Watauga, Ashe, Avery, Yancey, and Mitchell counties (age 55 and up).
There is also an arts competition for the artistically inclined in performance and crafting.
A recent practice session was held at Ashe County Senior Center with parks and recreation officials from Watauga and Ashe. Seniors got to try their skills at several of the activities that will be offered in the games.
Stephen Poulos, director of Watauga County Parks & Recreation in Boone, said his staff was excited to come and help seniors practice for the games. He was accompanied by Holly Gates, coordinator for the games, and Keron Poteat, Silver Arts coordinator. From Ashe County Parks & Recreation were Dusty Farmer, assistant director, and Jeremy Osborne, assistant athletic director.
Monday, May 7 is early bird registration deadline for the High Country Senior Games which start Thursday, May 10 with cycling events at Freedom High School in Morganton.
Official kickoff takes place Friday, May 18 with “Breakfast for Champions” from 8-10 a.m. at Appalachian Brian Estates (pre-registration required) and an opportunity to view Silver Arts entries. Horseshoes competition will take place at 10 a.m. followed by corn hole at 1 p.m. and table tennis at 3 p.m. Breakfast is free for participants registered for the games.
Games continue through May and early June with events at Boone Bowling Center, Watauga High School, Family Billiards Country Retreat, Linville Land Harbor, Meadowbrook Inn, Paul Broyhill Wellness Center, the Greenway Trail and other locations.
Winners in the events are awarded medals following the events which conclude June 9 with tennis.
A grand celebration banquet for participants, families and friends is planned at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 29 at Meadowbrook Inn in Blowing Rock. There will be dinner and entertainment including performances by High Country Silver Arts competitors in the performing category. Tickets are $10 each in advance.
Medal winners in the High Country Senior Games may qualify for the North Carolina Senior Games held in September in the Raleigh area. The 2012 state games is a qualifying year for the National Senior Olympics.
For fees and registration information, call Ashe Senior Center at 246-4347 or 246-2461.