Let the games begin in Vernon

From high jump to darts the B.C. 55 + Games are underway in Vernon.

The competition is fierce yet fun as the province’s most advanced athletes are in town for the BC 55+ Games.

It’s been 30 years since Vernon hosted the games and this time it’s a lot bigger with more athletes and events. The 1987 Games had a showing of 600 athletes, compared to 3,600 this year, with far fewer events, while the 30th Games includes 27 different sports.

“I remember them, I remember when they came,” said Diana Williamson, director for the Greater Vernon Games. “It’s back to where it all began 30 years ago, so it’s pretty exciting.”

The Okanagan-Similkameen, zone five, represents 806 athletes, so there’s a strong showing locally.

While many of those competing are in their early senior years, there are many who are proving that age doesn’t have to slow you down.

Among the oldest competitors are 97-year-old Bill Falconer of Kamloops, who is competing in track and field. There’s also 95-year-olds playing cribbage, floor curling and even equestrian. Swimming includes a couple 93-year-olds as well as Vernon’s own Mira Grypink, 85, who competed in the Games 30 years ago and is back at it again this year, along with her daughters Jacquie and Monique.

Sherrie McGraw, a distance runner from the Lower Mainland, says she loves the Games and it’s her second time as a competitor.

“I love running in general so this kind f puts another spin on it,” she said. “I prefer to do half-marathons, I have more time to play the field a little more, this is pretty intense.”

Organizer and table tennis player John Neilson says there are 106 players in his sport from all over the province.

“We have a few from Vernon, about four of us playing, and then there is a large number from the coast coming up and they are very good,” explained Neilson. “We actually don’t have a lot of the young ones here, the biggest age groups are over 70.”

And of course it wouldn’t be the senior games without darts.

Hedley McMullan has been playing darts since the 1990s, as it was a family affair.

“People say, ‘oh you’re going to the senior games?’” said McMullan. “Well, don’t forget there is a lot of good dart players in the senior games because we all played against each other coming up to get to be a senior, and now we are all seniors they are all still there, and they are still good players.”

The closing ceremonies are slated for Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at the Vernon Recreation Complex.

Just Posted

Truck fire forces evacuation of Lake Country gas station

No one was injured as firefighters quickly contained blaze at the Shell on Sunday afternoon

Gas leak contained near Lakeshore Road

Ruptured line was quickly contained Sunday morning by Kelowna Fire Department

High winds cause havoc for sailors

Kelowna Fire Department assists boats with broken masts on Okanagan Lake

Late night confrontation between two men in Peachland

RCMP was called to the scene of a physcial encounter on Saturday evening where one man was injured

Search continues after human remains located

The search of the property in the 2200 block of Salmon River Road enters its fourth day

VIDEO: Sears liquidation sales continue across B.C.

Sales are expected to continue into the New Year

Rockets raise money for autism

Western Hockey League club hosts third annual Family Day Sunday in Kelowna

WATCH: 10,000 signatures gained to stop ‘no pets’ rental policy

Pets OK BC said about 1,700 animals were surrendered to the BC SPCA last year due to housing issues

A golden opportunity

Orthodontist offers sweet deal for the pocketbook

Who is Curtis Sagmoen?

The Observer reveals what we know about the man attached to the Silver Creek property where human remains were found

VIDEO: Oprah Winfrey and a celebrities attend ‘B.C. Miracle Concert’

Fundraiser featured Foster, Steven Tyler, The Tenors, Matteo Bocelli, Laura Bretan, Carly Rae Jepsen

First-place Warriors edge Caps, visit ‘Backs today

West Kelowna scores twice in 25 seconds early in third to overtake Cowichan Valley in BCHL action

Grab a book; thank your librarian

All libraries are cornerstones of their communities and we celebrate them during library month

Five decades of volunteering

Even though she is approaching 70, Merle kindred continues to volunteer around the world

Most Read