Lighting the torch

By Keith Strange

April 15, 2014

DOBSON — The competitive fire is alive and well among Surry County seniors, as the nearly 200 participants signed up to compete in this year’s Yadkin Valley Senior Games can attest.

Now that the deadline to register for the 15th annual games has passed, organizers say that 191 seniors have signed up to compete in one or more of the 90 events that comprise the games.

This year’s games kick off with an opening ceremony set for 10 a.m., on May 9 at Fisher River Park in Dobson, according to Celena Watson, special events coordinator for Surry County Parks and Recreation.

The opening ceremonies, free and open to the public, will feature a presentation of colors by the Surry County Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard, addresses by members of the county’s board of commissioners and performances by some previous medal-winning athletes.

“The games will run throughout the month of May,” Watson said, “and we’ll conclude with our Silver Arts closing ceremony on June 12 at Surry Community College.”

Watson said she hopes to break a participation record with this year’s games.

“Last year we had 187 participants, with our oldest competitor 93 years old,” she said. “Our goal this year is to break the 200-participant mark. We feel that is very doable.”

This year’s event will feature 191 competitors, with the oldest athlete coming in at a spry 97 and many competitors in their 80s and 90s.

Surry County will be well represented in the games, with 152 participants, while Yadkin (25), Forsyth (7), Alleghany (3), Stokes (2) and Wilkes (2) also participating.

The Yadkin Valley Senior Games is open to any participant age 50 or older, Watson said.

“This is a very popular event since the games are open to any senior in North Carolina,” Watson said. “But primarily participants are from Surry and Yadkin counties. I think for our size we have a very successful and popular senior games.”

Watson said the games are designed to be fun and competitive, but there is a larger goal.

“This is very important,” she said emphatically. “Primarily, it’s a chance to promote health and wellness among seniors.

“We know that for the same cost that will keep two or three people in nursing homes for one year, we can keep 60,000 seniors across the state active through the senior games.”

Keith Strange can be reached at 336-719-1929 or via Twitter @strangereporter.