Senior Olympics returns for 22nd year


STANDISH — For the 22nd year, senior citizens of Arenac County will have the chance to have fun and compete at the St. Mary’s of Michigan Standish Hospital Senior Olympics.

The event, which takes place right outside of the hospital on M-61, and begins on Thursday at 9 a.m., will have plenty to keep spectators and participants busy.

“It’s all about getting people out together and having a fun day. We crown the athletes of the year (and) we light the torch and play ‘Chariots of Fire’ and kick off the games,” said Recreational Therapy Manager Jan Doerr about the opening ceremonies, where they pick the athletes of the year by crowning the oldest male and female participants. “Last year the lady was over 100 years old. We’ve got something for everyone.”

Though the games are free to take part in, the participants must be older than 60-years-old, and be residents of Arenac County.

Those who are eligible can take part in events such as miniature target golf, horseshoes, adaptive tennis, a baseball distance hit, walking and strolling trails, and a hog calling contest.

Even though the events are competitions, Doerr said that it is all about having a fun day.

“It is a great day for everybody. I can’t imagine not laughing at that,” she said about the hog calling contest. “It’s action packed.”

The games of the Olympics won’t be the only thing to keep everyone entertained, as there will be a classic car show, a health fair, and a free concert by Frank Sinatra impersonator Johnny Martini during lunch.

The lunch will include sloppy joes, coleslaw, watermelon, and a drink for $1 for seniors and $2 for community members who want to stop by and enjoy the day.

“(There is) live entertainment during lunchtime. By then it’s about 2 p.m. and we’re tired beyond belief,” said Doerr about the Olympics, which end after lunch. “To come to the games, antique car show and health fair is free.”

With this being the event’s 22nd year, Doerr said that she expects quite a crowd, and that the hospital will have plenty of ways to keep cool.

“Normally, depending on the weather, we get between 150-250 people,” she said. “We have a lot of shade and two large tents. We’ll have ice water and lemonade out there to keep them cool.”

Though the event is run by the hospital, most of the workers are volunteers.

Ginny DeLano, an 18-year volunteer veteran, said she enjoys helping and participating in the events.

“I’ve been here as a volunteer going on 18 years. It’s wonderful,” said the 82-year-old former participant and helper. “My mother was here for nine years and she participated up until she was in her late 90s. She really enjoyed it. I don’t think I have missed any since I’ve been here.”

DeLano also thinks that the hog-calling contest is the most liked event of the day.

“Hog-calling (is what) they like the best. They still have the ribbons up in their rooms,” she said about her patients. “The patients really like the Senior Olympics.”

For more information about the event, call (989) 846-3525.


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