The 20-something crowd would say the glory years of life are in your 20s. The five Pahrump seniors who won medals at the recent senior games would argue differently.
This week these seniors are featured for winning medals at the Nevada Senior Games in Las Vegas and the Huntsman World Senior Games in St. George, Utah.
Each year in the fall in Las Vegas, the Nevada Senior Games runs in early October through mid-October. The games are now in their 35th year. Nearly 1,000 seniors participate in 19 events annually.
The games now span a three-week period. There is also the Huntsman World Senior Games that runs about the same time. In those games, approximately 10,000 athletes participate annually.
There are also the nationals in the summer, which are held in July in a different city each time.
The nationals attract close to 12,000 athletes and to participate in the games, you must be 50 years old and qualify the year before through NSGA sanctioned state qualifying games (One can qualify through the Nevada Senior Games).
The nationals will be in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota in 2015 from July 3-16.
Bill Morris is 75 years old and has been shooting for 60 years. He spends a lot of time shooting at the Lone Wolf gun range here in Pahrump.
Last week at the Nevada Senior games he shot for two gold medals. “In the past five years I have shot for 6-7 gold medals,” he said. Morris shoots a .22 caliber Ruger and a Smith and Wesson .38 caliber.
This year at the games there were about 40 shooters he said. Morris qualified for the nationals in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota.
Oliver Gruter loves to swim now, but it hasn’t always been that way. He grew up playing basketball and even went semi-professional with the sport. It wasn’t until late in life he realized that swimming was good for him. He had children who swam like fish and they eventually convinced him to swim.
“I am not a swimmer. My kids were in a swimming club in Palo Alto. I watched a lot of swimming and I figured I would take it up,” he said to the PVT last year. “So when I turned 40 I did Masters Swimming for about three years.”
He is now 60 years old and swims at Mountain Falls for 30 minutes a day and does 1,000 to 1,200 yards.
He has been doing the Nevada Games for the past two years and last week won three gold medals in the 50-yard freestyle, the 50-yard backstroke and the 50-yard breaststroke.
Gruter plans on making the trip to Minneapolis-St. Paul this summer.
Kim Bradshaw is 59 and loves the game of softball. She goes just about anywhere to play and on Wednesday just returned from St. George, where the Huntsman World Senior Games is finishing up.
Bradshaw had joined a Reno team and went there to compete in the 55-59 age bracket. Her team finished in third for the bronze medal. Bradshaw also will be attending the nationals in Minneapolis-St. Paul next summer.
“I had a blast at the tournament and it was just a lot of fun playing with friends I hadn’t seen in a while,” Bradshaw said. “At the same time, we are very competitive. Nobody likes to lose.”
Marvin Caperton made it to St. George to compete in the 100-meter dash and the 50-meter dash, but strained his hamstring prior to making the trip and ended up competing in only the 50-meter dash. Caperton finished ninth and was just happy to compete.
He said prior to the race he received some very good therapy that allowed him to race. “I was not disappointed in the results because when I injured myself I thought I was not going to be able to run at all so I was elated just to participate,” he said.
“I really worked hard to get there and will be going to nationals in the summer.”
Susan Zink is a teacher at Rosemary Clarke Middle School and took up swimming at an early age because she lived on the coast.
She is a qualified water safety instructor and just recently involved herself in senior games. Last week was the first time she ever competed in a competitive swimming event and that was at the Nevada Senior Games.
“I just want to compete so that I can lose weight and be healthy during my retirement,” Zink said. “Swimming in the Nevada games motivates me to lose the pounds.”
She won a gold medal in the 50-yard freestyle and qualified for the nationals in Minneapolis-St. Paul, which she plans on attending.