DOBSON — The Yadkin Valley Senior Games launched Friday with an opening ceremony at Fisher River Park in Dobson.
The games are held May 6 through June 6, for participants age 55 and older, with sports events, as well as visual, literary, heritage and performing arts, which are part of the Silver Arts category — 73 sport events and 55 silver arts categories.
Celena Watson, coordinator for the Yadkin Valley Senior Games, welcomed everyone to the event and thanked participants for attending.
Watson told the crowd about David Surratt’s achievements in the 5K event: he won the gold medal for the past two years at the state games in Raleigh and will travel to the national games in July, held in Cleveland, Ohio.
She also thanked Daniel White, director of Surry County Parks and Recreation, and praised him for allowing use of Fisher River Park for the games. “David and his staff are wonderful to work with,” said Watson.
She also thanked her staff for their “amazing job” and introduced Commissioner Eddie Harris, who told the crowd he commended them for “continuing to promote an active, healthy lifestyle” and said Surry County is “committed to helping seniors.”
The Rev. Bob Josey led the prayer for the opening ceremony followed by the presentation of the flags by the Surry County Sheriff’s Office. Josey is also a participant in the senior games.
A shout from the crowd was overheard: “Give Celena a big hand!” followed by rousing applause for Celena Watson.
Juanita Gillespie sang “The Star Spangled Banner.” Gillespie won Best in Show in the Silver Arts categories for last year’s senior games. Watson said she “sang her heart out on stage” at the state senior games in Raleigh.
The Spirit of the Senior Games was read by Senior Ambassador Shirley Nichols and Senior Ambassador Jackie Lewis read the Senior Games Creed. Entertainment was provided by the newly engaged Bill Hawks and Charlotte Duncan, who performed two dance routines. The Alleghany Golden Girls entertained the crowd with a dance that won them the gold medal at last year’s state games.
The torch lighting ceremony was performed by the Senior Ambassadors Shirley Nichols, Jackie Lewis and Juanita Gillespie.
The fun walk and cornhole tournament took place after the opening ceremonies, with 89 seniors signed up for the cornhole tournament. The cornhole tournament had the most participants.
The oldest participant in the senior games this year is 96-year-old Margie Smith, according to Watson.
Mary Sue Chapman, along with friends Gloria Bryant and Janet Bottoms, waited in line to try disc golf, taught by volunteer Steve Marsh.
Chapman said this is her second year participating in the senior games and last year she won a blue ribbon for an oil painting of Mabry Mill. She plans to enter the Silver Arts competition again this year and also participated in the fun walk during the opening ceremonies.
“I love to participate in the senior games. I can make new friends and see old acquaintances. It’s a good time to get together,” said Chapman.
Bryant has participated for four years and she has placed every year in the Silver Arts competition for her quilting. She was awarded three blue ribbons and a second place finish.
Bottoms said her experience participating in the senior games has been “absolutely wonderful.” This is her second year of participation and she has signed up to play cornhole, bowling, football throw, basketball throw, photography and more. “I participate in each and every thing I am physically able to do,” explained Bottoms, who also volunteers as a time keeper for swimming events at Reeves Community Center.
Watson said she loves serving as coordinator for the Yadkin Valley Senior Games and looks forward to it every year. She said she was happy to have beautiful weather for the opening ceremonies, which were rescheduled after they were rained out earlier in the week.
Sponsors of the Yadkin Valley Senior Games include premier sponsor Humana, as well as the Surry County Health and Nutrition Center, the Senior Centers of Mount Airy and Pilot Mountain, Uni Home Health, Home and Stead, ProHealth Center, Surry County Parks and Recreation, SHIIP, the Yadkin Valley Senior Center, and YVEDDI.
Coordinating agencies for the games include the Surry County Health and Nutrition Center, Surry County and Mount Airy parks and recreation departments, Armfield Civic Center in Pilot Mountain, Elkin Parks and Recreation, the Surry County Senior Centers, and the Yadkin County Health Department.
Reach Jessica Johnson at email@example.com or 719-1933.