Seniors rake in the medals at 17th Annual Senior Olympics
SHEPHERDSTOWN – Fifteen seniors from the Jefferson County Council on Aging traveled to Potomac State College in June to participate in the 17th Annual Senior Olympics, hosted by Mineral County Aging and Family Services.
The group joined over 125 participants from 13 counties statewide to compete in a variety of contests in hopes of bringing home Olympic-style medals.
The Jefferson County contingency was successful in securing 36 medals during the three-day competition. The group brought back six gold, 15 silver and 15 bronze medals to at Ranson’s Anna Mae Reedy Senior Center.
Events included bocce, corn hole toss, horse shoes, football throw, Frisbee toss, poker, artificial flower arrangements and live plants. There were seven baking categories, 11 craft categories, talent events, seven track and field events, basketball shooting, golf putting, bowling, billiards, ping pong, scrabble and a spelling bee. The competitions were divided among age groups, with the youngest participant being 55 and the oldest 101.
“We had a great time,” said Bill Viands, the recipient of six of the team’s medals including a gold in the bean bag toss; silvers for bocce ball, corn hole toss and, his favorite, Texas Hold ‘Em; and bronze in the whiffle ball and ladderball competitions.
“The main one I was after was that Texas Hold ‘Em,” Bill added. “I competed in eight and got six. Last year I got 12, but this year I thought I’d spread it out a little.”
His wife of 54 years, Joann Viands, was competitive as well, and brought home a silver medal in archery.
Janis Hansen and Frannie DeStafano tied for the top gold wins, with two each. Hansen brought home the gold in whiffle ball and corn hole, while DeStefano won the gold in the standing long jump and basketball hot shot competition. Hansen also earned a silver in the baseball toss.
DeStefano was the overall top medal earner for Jefferson County, adding two silvers in golf putting and vocal group, as well as four bronze in afghans, softball throw, baseball toss and free throws to her collection.
Rounding out the gold medals was winner Mary Simmons in lacrosse. Additional silver medal winners included Flo Oakley in afghans and vocal group, Scott Hodges in the 20-yard dash, Penny Robins in bocce ball, Hanna Berry in horseshoes, Phyllis Grove in the bean bag toss and Redelle White with the corn hole toss. Rounding out the medal competition with bronze medals were Pat Fewell in bowling, Elizabeth Wright in baking cookies and lacrosse; Theresea Eboh in disc golf and lacrosse; White with bocce ball roll; Berry in washer toss and Robins with golf putting.
Special recognition was given to Hodges, who earned the Clyde Ackley Sportsmanship Award and DeStefano with the “Crazy Legs” recognition.
“It was my first time and I want to go back again,” Robins said. “It was such a homey-type atmosphere. You’re treated so nicely there.”
“We were labeled the ‘friendliest bunch of liars and cheaters’ they ever saw,” Council on Aging Recreation Leader Gloria Hodges, who organized the group and traveled with them to Keyser, said.
She went on to say that the Jefferson County folks were “everywhere” and meeting all kinds of people.
The group said they would not have been able to attend the Special Olympics without the support and hard work of Gloria Hodges as well as the generosity of those local businesses who sponsored their travel.
While the group had a wonderful time in their days of competing against seniors from around the state, they say they have wonderful times at their own Senior Center every day.
“We want people to come in. We have lots of activities. Lunch is every day right around noon,” Viands said.
For more information on becoming a part of the Senior Center’s activities, contact Gloria Hodges at 304-724-7111 or via email at email@example.com.