First place showing for locals at summer games

Red Deer and area participants in the Alberta 55 Plus Summer Games have plenty to be proud of. Local participants, who belong to Zone 4, ended up taking first place in the games with medal counts of 38 gold, 29 silver and 31 bronze.

“It’s fantastic – we’ve never been able to do that before,” said Rosella Snopek, Zone 4 publicity director. “We usually come in third or fourth, so this was a real accomplishment.” The province is divided into eight zones for the games.

About 871 participants from across the province took part in the event which ran July 21-24 in Fairview. Participants must qualify at the zone level before they can participate. “The competition is stiff.”

Activities run the gamut from cycling, golf and slo-pitch to bocce, cribbage and tennis. There is an artistic component to the event, featuring creative writing and visual arts categories as well.

The Alberta 55 Plus Games are described as the province’s premier multi-sport and cultural event, providing many benefits to both the host community and the thousands of Albertans who participate at the local, zone and provincial levels.

It’s also a wonderful means of making friends from other areas of the province. “Everybody loves the social aspect of it,” said Snopek.

The Games also provide a venue for folks 55 years of age and older to pursue greater levels of physical, social, intellectual and creative achievement through friendly competition and participation.

Snopek said the town of Fairview showed incredible support with more than 700 volunteers pitching in to help out. There was also quite a bit of rain, but grounds crews “went above and beyond” in making the event as smooth and seamless as possible, she said.

Meanwhile, winners from Red Deer include Ruby and Mark Meunier contract bridge – gold; Ken Nowochin – eight ball pool – men’s 70+ – gold; Merv Armstrong – men’s 70+ in the 100m, 200m, javelin, discus – gold; shot put – silver; Shirley Reaman – 70+ women’s in 100m, javelin, discus – gold and in the 200m and shot put – silver and Catherine Nielsen – 55+ women’s – 100m, 200m, 1500m – gold.

Other medalists included Charles Murray – 55+ men’s slo-pitch – gold; Larry Gross – 65+ men’s slo-pitch – gold; Dennis Oakey – 65+ men’s slo-pitch – gold; Al West – 65+ men’s slo-pitch – gold; Alice Hanlan – women’s time predicted 10 km cycling – silver; Beulah Johnston – 70+ cribbage – bronze; Rita Petersen – 65+ women’s low gross golf – bronze; Ellie Armstrong – 65+ women’s shot put and discus – bronze and Graham Keogh – a silver for 55+ men’s doubles – tennis.

The visual arts and crafts and creative writing segment of the events brought in 52 medals towards the first place win as well.

Reaman won bronze for creative writing – non-fiction – humorous and for photography. Also in crafts, Paula Bill took home one gold and one bronze. Mary Hydomako landed one bronze and Linda Holt won silver.

It was back in 1980 that the first provincial senior’s games were held in Camrose after the 75th Anniversary Commission approved a proposal of the Alberta Games Council to host an anniversary games event.

This initiated the Alberta Senior’s Games, which are now recognized as the Alberta 55 Plus Games.

The event runs every two years with winter and summer events.

The 2013 Alberta 55 plus Summer Games will be held in Westlock/Barrhead and the Winter Games will be held in Calgary.