KAMLOOPS – Mountain bike racing had to be cancelled, but archery, tennis, hockey, swimming, slo-pitch, curling and 18 other events will still go ahead this August when close to 4,000 B.C. seniors come to town for the annual games.
Senior games, or 55 plus games as some provinces call them, take place across the country but B.C. is one of the more active groups, offering annual competitions that focus mostly on sporting endeavours.
The interest in sporting events is evident in the number of registrants too, the second highest in the 26 year history of the games. Nearly 40 people have registered for equestrian, 382 for hockey, 258 in golf, 413 in slo-pitch and 221 in track and field.
Kamloops games manager Wayne Hall says there is a selection process for activities in the B.C. Seniors Games and while they try to make them as inclusive as possible there is a real demand for the more athletic events.
“We want to make them inclusive, make sure everyone can participate.” Hall says. “But we are very social too. We have a lot of evening events, and the games themselves are quite social too, though still very competitive.”
Some provinces offer winter and summer games but many combine some of the more typical winter sports, such as hockey and curling, into summer events. Many only host these summer games every other year. A national competition is also held every two years but B.C. joins Newfoundland and Nunavut in not taking part in the Canada 55 Plus Games.
In a survey of six provinces and the Canadian nationals, B.C. is also the only one to offer equestrian, archery, dragon boat, mountain biking, soccer and table tennis. It is also one of a few jurisdictions to offer badminton, ice curling, ice hockey and lawn bowling.
Even more notable is what is missing. B.C. is the only one of the six to not offer shuffleboard (regular or floor) and one of only a couple to not offer pool, basic cycling or scrabble. B.C. actually offers very few events not focused on athletic or sporting type events, with only bridge, whist and cribbage (one of only three events played in all the surveyed provinces) on the roster.
The B.C. Seniors Games has one of the highest concentrations of athletic activities of any of the surveyed games, which is easily noted when looking at a list of activities in other provinces that include arts and crafts, Scrabble and a variety of card games
The Kamloops games, to be held August 20-24, have had strong registration in golf, hockey and equestrian sports but mountain bike racing did not receive enough registrants and had to be cancelled. Even so, organizers are still encouraging those interested in the sport to bring their bikes and try out the route.
Now that the official registration numbers have been tallied Hall says they have a better idea on how many volunteers they need. Currently they are looking at filling 500-600 volunteer shifts. There is a high need for people to help with first aid, security (parking), IT, communications and operations.
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