Polk Senior Video games return after yr hiatus, albeit solely outside occasions

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After a year-long hiatus, the Polk Senior Games are back.

The Polk Senior Games are an annual series of Olympic-style competitive events for people aged 50 and over. It’s the first year the Games have been hosted since founder Nancye Thornberry passed away. Thornberry started the Games in 1992 and died on March 24, 2020 at the age of 89.

“We have them commemorated in our rulebooks mailed to all prospective attendees, and we may have them recognized at the opening ceremony,” said Duane Hopkins, first vice president of the board.

Hopkins, 86, has been on the board since 2009 and will compete in tennis this year. He previously participated in Bag Toss, Cribbage and Senior Smarts.

“I’ve competed for at least 10 years, probably more than that. I’ve enjoyed it so much,” said Hopkins. “I have to meet some new people and it’s just fun to be active and keep going. It was a great experience. ”

From 2021: Polk Senior Games canceled

Polk Hall of Fame: Nancye Thornberry among the newcomers in 2008

This year, only outdoor games such as archery, fishing, golf, softball, tennis, and athletics are offered.

“We will only be holding the outdoor games out of concern for the health and safety of our seniors so that we can maintain and maintain social distancing and minimal contact,” said Hopkins.

Hopkins said it would take more than 700 volunteers and 40 board members to help plan the games. Planning begins six months before the main event. The competitions are held in the entire district.

“It really is a community event,” said Hopkins.

In 2020 there were 2,491 participants. With the cancellation of indoor competitions, there is still hope for a high number of participants.

“We hope people enjoy getting out and we’ve protected them enough to make them feel safe,” said Hopkins.

Registration began on Monday and will run until February 11th. Participants do not have to be a Polk County resident. The games will take place across the county from February 26th to March 12th. More information about the games can be found at www.polkseniorgames.org.

Breanna A. Rittman writes news articles for The Ledger. Send your feature ideas to [email protected]