If you will be 50 years of age by Dec. 31, 2016, or older, you are eligible to participate in the Southern Ohio Senior Games which begin on Sept. 10, and you have until Sept. 6, 2016 to register. The Senior Games promotes the health and wellness of men and women 50 years of age and better with opportunities to participate in competitive sports.
It all began when a state official told one of the local organizers southern Ohio has been underserved over the years.
“His name is Larry Werstler from Canton, Ohio,” Lyvette Mosley, organizer of the event, said. “He’s 80 years old and he was a senior athlete that competed up there and he was the organizer of the Canton games and the Senior Football Hall of Fame games as well.”
Werstler contacted Mosley on Facebook and told her how important it would be for southern Ohio to host the Senior Games.
“When I retired, I retired for the County Board of DD and he saw that I had retired and he sent me another message that it’s time to get it started,” Mosley said. He told Mosley, if she would form a board, he would come and address the board. She did and Werstler spoke.
“I went before the (Scioto County) Health Coalition and made my presentation and it was accepted that the Southern Ohio Senior Games would be a part of the Scioto County Health Coalition,” Mosley said. “Then we formed a board.”
The board consists of Mosley, Gary Roberts, Marcy Kristian, Libby Brisker, Wendi Waugh, Ed Hughes, Regina Tipton, Mary Arnzen and Thomas Bailey.
Brisker, Roberts and Mosley went before the Ohio Senior Olympics Board and made a presentation requesting that Portsmouth be a host for the Senior Games. A month later they received word they would, in fact, host the Senior Games.
“We’ve been working ever since the letter came in October (2015) and we began to solicit sponsorships from the community,” Mosley said. “We told the community our mission was to promote a healthy lifestyle. They partnered with us to generate funds to be able to host the games, and it will be going on every year. We have raised about $21,000 throughout the community.”
Mosley said people can sign up to participate at www.southernohioseniorgames.org. or through TriStateRacer.com. Registration fee is $25. Some competitions will require additional fees (see schedule).
“We are in need of table tennis players because we have people coming from Michigan, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, just all over – Dayton, Cincinnati and Columbus,” Mosley said. “People (from those areas) have registered and they’re looking to come to our community to compete.”
One of the major competitions will be a match between Kim Bauer of the Scioto County Convention and Visitors Bureau and Dawn Scott of the Ralph F. Scott Funeral Home.
“They’re wanting to encourage people their age to sign up and compete,” Mary Arnzen of Southern Ohio Medical center said. “SOMC has gotten involved because it mirrors our mission which is improving the health and wellness of our community. By people participating in the games it gets them moving.”
Another part of the competition will center around a sport that has taken the area by storm – pickleball, which will be staged on Sept. 14 from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the SOMC Life Center, 1202 18th St. in Portsmouth.
“It is very popular,” Arnzen said.
The age brackets for participants are 50-54, then beginning with 55, divided up by every five years as peer groups. The top three finishers in each category will receive a medal. Gold, silver or bronze medals to the first, second and third place finishers respectively.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.