This photo was taken at the 2017 National Senior Games in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Left to right are: Daniel Packham, Angela Kerber, and Dick Johnson. They carried the Idaho flag, sign and banner in the Parade of Athletes at the Opening Ceremonies.

The Idaho Senior Games may not be an annual event on your radar, but it has been around for 29 years, said state coordinator Mike Thornton.

“The underlying purpose is to encourage men and women to be active and to improve their quality of life,” Thornton said. Those who decide to compete “have mentally made the decision: it’s possible.”

The games cover 19 sports, from billiards to pickleball, archery to swimming.

This year 600 to 700 men and women over 50 will be competing at a variety of local venues — Fort Boise, Municipal Park, Emerald Lanes and The Pocket, to name a few. The games started on Aug. 3 and will continue through Aug. 26. Those who finish in the “top four,” said Thornton, will qualify to go on to the national tournament June 14 to 25, 2019, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Ten thousand athletes will vie for medals in 20 sports; in 2017, the oldest competitor was 103.

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Thornton encourages the public to come to any of the sporting events they may be interested in and cheer on competitors.

“Some of our participants started out by watching,” he said. He added it can also be a way “to expand a person’s network of friends.”

People can also sign up to participate. Most of the sporting events include a fee between $15 to $40. Also, Idaho is an “open” state, meaning out-of-state participants are welcome.

You can check out the complete 2018 games schedule, including all sporting events and venues, as well as sign up to compete on the Idaho Senior Games website:

Jeanne Huff is the community engagement editor for the Idaho Press. You can reach her at 208-465-8106 and follow her on Twitter @goodnewsgirl.

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