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''Boomers'' and ''Seniors'' Compete at Berea

Athletes from around the Bluegrass region and Ohio joined local competitors gathered in Berea, Ky. recently at Berea College’s Seabury Center to compete in the First Annual Bluegrass Regional Boomer and Senior Games. Eight sanctioned athletic competitions and an arts and crafts exhibit took place on the Berea Campus and at the Berea Country Club including singles and doubles badminton, 3 on 3 basketball, 20 K cycling, 18 holes of golf, singles and doubles racquetball, swimming, track and field, and singles and doubles tennis.

Berea students work at the Boomes & Seniors Games

In addition to the athletes, more than 100 volunteers, Berea College students and adults from various senior community centers, gave their time and energy to assist the athletes with anything from registration, directions, judging, time keeping, serving lunches and drinks to being “great personal cheerleaders” as one 20 K cycling competitor stated.

“This event provided a spotlight for healthy, active older adults who displayed lifestyles that were so positive to see,” said Martha Beagle, professor of physical education and health at Berea and one of the event’s organizers. “We had a group of outstanding track and field participants from Ohio that absolutely amazed our students! We are already planning for next year’s event and expect it will be even more successful.”

All competitors were required to be at least fifty years old to compete in the eight competitions, and medals were given for first through third place finishes in each five year age brackets. In conjunction with the sanctioned events, an Arts and Crafts exhibit and fun games were held for those who were less inclined to compete in the more strenuous events. A corn hole tournament and a one-mile fun walk around the campus were held with competitors receiving official certificates of participation. Over 200 entries were received for the Arts and Crafts exhibit including quilts, wood crafts, wall hangings, photography, woven baskets, paintings and jewelry.

The swimming competitions included events in backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, freestyle and individual medley. Track and field included discus, javelin, shot put, high jump, long jump, 100-meter, 200, 400, 800 and 1500-meter races. Times for some of the “senior” competitors were impressive, and included a 100-meter time of 13.2 seconds for a 61 year old, 200 meter time of 28.2 for 63 year old runner Lloyd Hancock of Dayton, Ohio. Tom Johnson, also of Dayton, claims to be the fastest man in the Midwest! He finished the 400-meter with a time of 64.69. Women put in some fine performances as well. Debbie Bellairs of Richmond, Ky. won gold in the 50 meter freestyle, 50 meter backstroke and 100 individual Medley, as well as earning a silver medal in the Breaststroke.

Berea College was represented with retired physics professor Smith T. Powell earning a gold medal in racquetball singles and alumnus Truman Fields earning a gold medal in badminton singles and a silver medal in tennis doubles.

Next year’s Bluegrass Senior and Boomer Games are scheduled for Sept. 12.

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