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September 17, 2012

Simmons Center to host annual senior games

DUNCAN — Seniors from around Southwest Oklahoma will be gathering Sept. 28 at the Simmons Center with promises of fun times and new friends.

The Southwest Oklahoma Senior Games are entering their 18th year for the Duncan community and surrounding areas. Pat Bowles, senior events coordinator for the Simmons Center, has been in charge of the senior games since their inception.

“We usually have around 100 people,” Bowles said. “That’s what we like to have.”

Before the games began in Duncan, Bowles used to take groups of senior citizens to other senior games before she realized the Simmons Center made a perfect area to host such games.

And there are plenty of games for seniors to participate in.

The games range from shuffle board to disc golf, from horseshoes to a rolling pin toss.

Bowles said there are some seniors who make the senior games part of an annual tradition.

She said there are plenty of faces she recognizes each year.

“I have some who have been doing it since Day One,” Bowles said.

Although she always has returning seniors, there are always new participants from year to year.

She said some people find out about the event each year or finally get an opportunity to take part.

Either way, she’s always excited to meet new people.

The participants themselves have strong showings from several communities.

While many are from the Duncan and Stephens County areas, the Lawton community also has a strong showing at the Simmons Center event.

The event is aimed at keeping the seniors active and helping them find ways to interact with other people.

Bowles said some seniors, especially once they retire, find themselves cut off from simple interactions.

By keeping the seniors active, the event helps the seniors in a positive frame of mind.

“I do want to emphasize the social part,” Bowles said.

And the senior games aren’t aimed at only people who are physically fit.

The event is a non-competition activity, where seniors can interact with their friends and go at their own pace.

Each person gets a participation ribbon and stickers to represent all the games they took part in.

She said there is something for every senior to do.

“We even have people in wheelchairs,” Bowles said.

She said the event is fun every year, and she looks forward to seeing what this year will bring.

“We’re still going strong,” she said.

The next step before the games is registration.

Those who register by Sept. 21 will secure a shirt in their size.

While there will be additional shirts the day of the event, the shirt sizes for non-registered or late-registrants will be on a first come, first serve basis.

To register, seniors can contact the Simmons Center at 580-252-2900.

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