Senior games

Michael Bruce, left, tests his skill during the shuffleboard event during last year’s Perry Park Center’s Senior Games The Senior Games will start Wednesday and run through Saturday with nearly 60 events. The four-day event will have 128 participants this year, a total of four more than the previous year.

 

There are plenty of events hosted by the Perryville Park Center each year. But the 19th annual First State Community Bank Southeast Missouri Senior Games is one of the biggest and the beginning of the games is right around the corner. The games will be held August 7-10 in various locations around the community and League and Fitness Supervisor Kaelin Casasola couldn’t be any more excited.

“I can’t wait for the event,” she said. “I’m ready to get everything going to see everybody come back from last year and the new participants come in and see what it’s like. It’s just an exciting time of the year for us.”

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Casaola noted that there are 90 participants this year, which is less than last year, but there are plenty of new participants.

“We had a couple from Jackson that came in and saw the flier and wanted to try it out,” Casasola said. “While a majority of our participants come every year, there are a few new people that have signed up.”

Participants range in age from 50 to one participants who is in his mid-90s that compete in nearly 60 events over the four-day event. Events range from softball accuracy throws, to numerous swimming and track events. Of all the age groups that participant, the age group with the most participants falls within the 75-80 age range.

“You would think that would be the people in their 50s,” Casasola said, “But that is not the case here. A lot of the participants are older in age because they want to do something that gets them out of the house and on their feet.”

The event that seems to be the most popular is pickleball. The event has the most participants of any event for this year’s games.

“That’s to be expected,” Casasola said. “Pickleball will probably be our most popular event from now on. I know we have thought about it making it it’s own separate day. It is growing and we get more teams every year.”

Other events that are popular during the games is the accuracy throws and the track and field events 

“People want to relive their glory days,” Casasola said jokingly “But those events are pretty easy that people who haven’t signed up will walk by and want to try.”

Perryville’s version is not a state sanctioned event, which means that the winning participants don’t move onto a regional or national event. Despite this though Casasola likes the competitive nature of the games.

“I love the atmosphere,” Casasola said. “I like just talking to the competitors and making sure they have a good time. A lot of the people see each other each year at the games and they have a sort of friendly rivalry. There are a lot of people that will come to our games and use it as a practice and then go onto their bigger competitions.”

Despite the fact that the area’s Senior Games not being held in a big city, Casasola sees the Senior Games being a successful event.

“For us being a ‘smaller town,’ we get good participation,” she said. “We get people from surrounding communities and that’s really impressive.

Even with the daunting task in front of her of hosting the Games, Casasola sees next week as a busy time hosting the event.

“It’s a lot to go in those four days,” she said. “Those days feel like about a week-and-a-half worth of stuff that we do.

 

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