The Duncan Banner

September 27, 2013

SW OK games marks 19th year for Senior Citizen fun

Toni Hopper
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN — Who says only young people can have fun?

Shouts of hoorahs and laughter filled the Simmons Center Thursday, but the noise wasn’t from youth playing basketball. It was from 89 senior citizens and 20 volunteers having fun at the 19th annual Southwest Oklahoma Senior Games.

Great fall weather allowed the participants a chance to enjoy outdoor games, too, said Pat Bowles, Simmons Center’s adult events coordinator.

Outside, best friends Sharron Eaves and Patsy Tribbey played a fun game of horseshoes. They’ve been participating since 2000.

“We enjoy the fellowship and the fun stuff,” Eaves said. When asked if they would like to have senior game day more than once a year, Tribbey laughed and said once a year was plenty. They stay active taking a water aerobics class at the Simmons Center.

Both women attend Bray Missionary Baptist Church and make it a point to visit two assisted living centers and two nursing homes, to sing once a month. Before retirement a few years ago, Eaves was personnel management for Walmart and Tribbey worked at AOA in Marlow, which is no longer in business.

All game participants received stickers on the name badge ribbons they wore, indicating a first or second place in the event they played. For a group of women from Lawton, they joked about being competitive at the shuffleboard event. Sallie Walker and Violet Pluto had been to the games before, but this year, they brought Muriel Polone for her first time.

Bowles said most people pre-register, but some do arrive as walk-ins. One of those was World War II veteran Creed King. It was his first time to the games and he was hard to keep up with. King, 94, was busy taking pictures with his camera and making new friends.

He also was the surprise winner of the Most Birthdays Award, beating out Simmons Center member Nathan Dobbs, by four months. Both men were born in 1919, Bowles said. Dobbs regularly visits the facility to stay active. King said he came to Duncan in the 1940s and worked for Halliburton, but eventually moved away. He’s recently returned and finding much enjoyment in getting involved.

Dovie Gleghorn, 93, of Duncan won the second place for Most Birthdays.

Clifton Brown of Lawton, won the Spirit of the Games Award.

“All the volunteers told me he was so much fun. He was a cut-up and having a ball,” Bowles said.

Most of the participants had a story to share. Cindy Long, 65, and Vivian Medders, 72, have been coming to the games for 10 years.

“We played outside games and my son has threatened to come up here and tell them I’m cheating and say I’m on steroids,” Long said. Laughing at the inside joke, she explained, “I’ve got all these first place stickers.”

Terry and Linda Spradley may have been the two most active people at the facility on Thursday, but only because they keep in physical shape on a daily basis.

Terry said they come to the Simmons Center weekly, and twice a week, they ride bicycles 31 miles through Fort Sill and in that area in Lawton.

While no awards were given out for yearly participation, Louise Adams of Marlow, said she’s come to the games all 19 years. She’s looking forward to the 20th anniversary, which Bowles said is already in planning stages.

During lunch, The Pacesetters performed a Broadway dance number, and Ensley Kohout performed some numbers from “Annie.”

Many of the volunteers arranged time away from their regular jobs so they could help and have fun, too. Like Heather Cain and best friend Coral Warren. Cain, who teaches a step class at the facility on Tuesday nights, works at Halliburton’s field camp, said she was having as much fun as the participants. The pair took turns playing badminton with the seniors.

Bowles said that 85 people played in the 2012 games, and was happy to see a few more people attend this year. She’s hoping for even more at the 2014 games.

Besides games, lunch and awards, several sponsors were available as an informational courtesy.

“We had Advanced Medical Supply, Walgreens, Duncan Regional Hospital, and then Varai Clinic did free massages,” Bowles said. “Karen Cain with DRH Community Outreach, was showing different programs they have available.”