Martie Hale of Clovis breaks during her game in the 65-69 age group of the Senior Olympics Pool Tournament Tuesday at La Casa Senior Center in Clovis. (CNJ staff photo: Eric Kluth)
By Leslie Radford: CNJ Staff writer
Clovis senior citizens are taking the olympics to a new level. They have prepared for months to compete locally in numerous senior olympic events that kicked off Saturday with a breakfast and parade.
Shirley Wolfenbarger, 69, of Clovis has competed for six years in the New Mexico Senior Olympics, an event spearheaded by The National Senior Games Association, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to motivating active adults to lead a healthy lifestyle through the senior games movement.
Wolfenbarger is one of 79 registered Clovis athletes participating this year.
“It’s something we all enjoy,” she said. “I tell other seniors it’s a great way to get out and move, because, you know, if you don’t use it, you lose it.”
Local senior olympics coordinator Reuben Gonzales said he’s not sure how long the senior games have been in Clovis, but the national event has been around for a couple of decades.
“We were trying to figure that out the other day,” he said. “We haven’t found the answer yet, but it has been around locally for several years.”
He said Clovis always has a wide range of ages with this year’s oldest being 87, the youngest — 50.
“This is a great opportunity for companionship and competition amongst our seniors,” Gonzales said. “Some take this very seriously. Even though this is a fun event, they can be highly competitive at times.”
One of the area’s favorite competitions is considered a recreational event that includes a soccer kick and horseshoe pitching.
Other events include field events that begin at 8 a.m. Saturday at the Clovis High School track where senior athletes will throw the discus and the shot, compete in the long jump and compete in other events.
A talent show is scheduled for May 7 at Clovis Community College where Wolfenbarger will play a grater in a kitchen band.
For other local events contact Gonzales at the Roy Walker Community Center at 769-7869.
Gonzales said events are divided into age groups and standards are set for each group to qualify for the next level. Top qualifiers advance to state championships scheduled Aug. 3-7 in Albuquerque with a chance to go to nationals later this year.
Clovis seniors will award medals and ribbons for local events on May 19 at the Baxter-Curren Center. The local events are sponsored in part by the city of Clovis and various local organizations.
New Mexico Senior Olympics features more than 90 events in 26 different sports in more than 130 communities and 31 local game sites across the state, encouraging a healthy lifestyle in mature adults over 50.
Read about these organizations online at:
• New Mexico Senior Olympic: www.nmseniorolympics.org
• The National Senior Games Association: