|First-Ever Kansas City Senior Games Set for Sept. 10-12|
August 27 is the registration deadline for athletes interested in participating in the first-ever Kansas City Senior Games.
This event is being launched by the Johnson County Park and Recreation District's 50 Plus Department and will take place over the weekend of Sept. 10 through 12 at locations throughout the Kansas City area.
Also sometimes known as Senior Olympics, Senior Games are Olympic-style competitions meant to promote health and wellness. While 18 events have been sanctioned by the National Senior Games Association, a not-for-profit agency affiliated with the U.S. Olympic Committee, The Kansas City Senior Games will launch with about half that many. Events being planned for the initial Kansas City games are: golf, shuffleboard, tennis, horseshoes, a 5 kilometer race, bowling, and billiards.
"It's going to be a fun ride and I'm excited for the growth in the years to come," said 50 Plus Special Events Coordinator Ryan Robertson, who is organizing the Senior Games.
The games will begin with a free Opening Ceremony at Shawnee Mission Park's Shelter 8 located on the southwest side of the lake. Shawnee Mission Park is located at 7900 Renner Road, Shawnee and Lenexa. This event will begin at 6 p.m. and include the lighting of a torch and a walk in the park. Athletes' families, as well as friends and the public, are invited to bring a picnic and lawn chairs and enjoy music and a walk along a portion of the nearby Mill Creek Streamway Park.
Competitions will take place through the day Saturday and Sunday at locations ranging from Olathe to Independence. The entry fee for athletes in this year's event is $20, which includes a T-shirt and participation in one or multiple events. Additional fees apply to golf and bowling. For more information about the Kansas City Senior Games, including a schedule, entry form, complete event rules, and a list of locations, visit the District's web site at www.jcprd.com or call (913) 236-1248.
50 Plus Manager Carlene Todd brought the idea for a local Senior Games back from National Park and Recreation meetings last October after hearing a participant from another city speaking very enthusiastically about it.
"You had this woman who was several years older than many of us in the audience, but she was about a thousand times more active," Todd said. "We discussed the concept of the senior games and it just seemed like we were too large of a city to not be actively doing this."
Regionally, Senior Games are already in place in Topeka and Salina, Des Moines, Iowa, Columbia, MO., and St. Louis. Following the local and regional competitions, National Senior Games take place every two years. The next is planned for June 3-18, 2005 in Pittsburgh, Penn.
In preparing for this year's local games, Robertson has visited a number of area events, including the 25-year-old St. Louis games, which is currently the largest in the nation with about 1,600 participants per year.
In addition to drawing on the experience of other Senior Games organizers, Robertson has also enlisted the help of officials with the Kansas City Corporate Challenge, which is also operated by the Johnson County Park and Recreation District.