Dragon boating will be one of the many sports Salmon Arm residents participate in at the 55+ Games in Vernon Sept 12-15. Salmon Arm Observer file photo.

Shuswap residents ready for 55+ Games

Short trip to participate and cheer this year with Games in Vernon.

The age of the athletes does nothing to slow down the competition at the annual 55+ BC Games.

Shuswap athletes competing in this year’s games do not have to travel far as they are being held in Vernon from Sept. 12 to 16.

Residents are competing in individual events such as cycling and track and field as well as team sports including soccer and hockey.

Former Salmon Arm police office Yvonne Dibblee, a multi-medal winner who lives just outside the Salmon Arm border, is once again competing in eight track and field events ranging from hammer throw to long jump.

John Witte is also a powerhouse in track and field. The only Salmon Arm resident registered for track and field, he is competing in discus, shot put, weight throw, long jump, javelin and the 50- and 100-metre sprints.

Allen Bahen, Pat Danforth, Peter Molnar and Pat Hutchins are all competing in cycling events. Danforth, Hutchins and Molnar are competing in competitive events in their respective age groups. Bahen is competing in the recreational division.

A large contingent from Salmon Arm is competing in the dragon boat races. A total of 33 athletes are competing on women’s and co-ed 55+ dragon boat teams.

The equestrian events will feature five participants from Salmon Arm: Daina Hillson, Carol Kettlewell, Bev Pearson, Denise Stanley and Mayor Nancy Cooper.

Cooper will be competing in the novice Western Performance Trail ride on Cysco, a horse she has never shown before.

“I’ve been learning a lot, he’s been learning a lot and we’re just going to go down there and see how we do,” Cooper said.

Trail riding competition will feature obstacles such as gates, water, bridges and small jumps for Cooper and Cysco to navigate.

“We’re going for the fun,” Cooper said.

Monty Kilborn, Brian Maurer, Mathias Schmidt and Don Tonks will be golfing in the games. Vernon Golf and Country Club and Spallumcheen Golf and Country Club are the host courses for the event.

Shuswap players are competing in hockey on men’s 55+, 60+, 65+, 70+ and 75+ teams.

Roy Sakaki is one of the members of the 65+ team, which is mostly comprised of players from Salmon Arm and Kamloops.

“It’s a lot of fun. Always a very festive event, it’s not just about hockey, it’s about meeting people and seeing other venues. They’ve got something for everyone,” Sakaki said. “It’s certainly something that’s good for seniors.”

Sakaki said he is excited this year’s games are so close to home, as the team has previously travelled as far as Prince George and Nanaimo. The team has made it to the podium a few times in past years.

Al Bianco, Faith and Clarence Juell, Amy Kidd, Cindy Krczizanowski, Edwin Kries and Neil Larocque are competing in horseshoes.

Salmon Arm is sending a sizeable contingent of curlers including Sandra Jenkins whose rink made it to the finals of the BC Senior Curling Championships this year. Kate Horne and Wendy Cseke who were also on Jenkins’ rink are also registered for the games.

The pickleball players from Salmon Arm are one of the largest contingents from any sport going to the games with 15 athletes registered.

Dee Whitmore, Ann Polson, Cathy Pachmann, Cindy Kilmartin, Susan Kalke, Donna Helgeson and Margaret Hagardt are registered for women’s 55+ recreational slopitch. Wes Sandy is on the 55+ mixed team.

Lizzy Mair, Tricia Martin, Karen Tanchak, Bonnie Kelly and The Observer’s own Martha Wickett will be playing soccer in the women’s 55+ division. John Wilson is on a Men’s 60+ team.

Muriel Hurlbert is the only Salmon Arm swimmer competing in the races held at the Vernon Aquatic Centre. She is competing in the 200-metre Individual Medley, the 400- and 800-metre freestyle, the 100-metre backstroke, the 100-metre breaststroke and the 25- metre backstroke.

Jarvis Wice, Peter Wessel, Eddie Turner, Ben Peters, Ralph Owens, Markku Nikmo, Ann Nikmo, Cole Doug and Doss Burman will be packing their paddles and heading to Vernon to compete in table tennis.

Seven local tennis players will be taking to the hard courts in the games: Sue and Mick Ford, Indira Greenhough, Les and Marg Heron and Mike Oosterhoff.

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