Ready, set, go for Minnesota Senior GamesAthletes from all over Minnesota, as well as across the country, will be in Alexandria next week competing in Olympic-style games. They will compete in a variety of sports, including golf, swimming, volleyball, tennis, softball and track and field, to name a few.
By: By Celeste Beam, Staff Reporter, Alexandria Echo Press
Athletes from all over Minnesota, as well as across the country, will be in Alexandria next week competing in Olympic-style games.
They will compete in a variety of sports, including golf, swimming, volleyball, tennis, softball and track and field, to name a few.
These events are similar to what athletes will participate in at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. What might be a little different, however, are the athletes.
Yes, there will be both men and women, but spectators won’t find any athletes younger than the age of 50.
The competition, known as the Minnesota Senior Games, is for men and women who are “50 and better” in age.
The games will start Monday, July 21, and will run through Thursday, July 24. There are nearly 20 sports for the athletes to compete in.
Fritz Bukowski from Lakes Area Recreation and the Minnesota Senior Games coordinator, said there are well over 200 participants already signed up for the competition.
“I bet we tickle the 300 mark,” said Bukowski, noting that at last year’s event there were about 150 competitors. “We have a lot of great people coming here to the lakes area for this competition.”
So far, Bukowski said there are competitors coming from the states of Colorado, Oklahoma, Iowa, Wisconsin, and both South and North Dakota.
The Minnesota Senior Games are hosted by Lakes Area Recreation, Douglas County Committee on Aging, Humana and the Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce.
It is a qualifying event for the National Senior Games, which will take place next year in San Francisco, California.
However, if contestants qualify for the National Senior Games, it doesn’t mean they have to compete. Bukowski said those who medal are “invited” to the national competition and it is up to them if they want to attend.
For this year’s Minnesota Senior Games in Alexandria, Bukowski said there are a couple of changes.
A few new sports have been added, he noted, including pole vaulting and shuffleboard.
In addition, another change is the location for golf. This year, the golfing competition will take place at Geneva Golf Club instead of at Lake Miltona Golf Club, said Bukowski.
A wine and cheese event has also been added for all athletes and their guests, and this year, Wednesday night is Beetles Baseball Night. Food and beverages will be provided at the game for Senior Games competitors.
Bukowski said that not only do the seniors get to compete in athletic sports, they get to enjoy a couple of social outings, and “meet a bunch of fantastic people.”
“They can compete. They’ll do well and they will have fun,” he added.
To register or for more information about the Minnesota Senior Games, contact Bukowski at Lakes Area Recreation at (320) 762-2868 or register online at www.MNSeniorGames.com.