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Horseshoes kick off 2021 Alaska International Senior Games

Published: Aug. 7, 2021 at 4:44 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The 2021 Alaska International Senior Games kicked off on Saturday, August 7, with horseshoes in North Pole.

At Terry Miller Park, horseshoe enthusiasts, volunteers and spectators gathered under cloudy skies and the threat of rain for games that were cancelled last year due to COVID-19.

The Senior Games involve participants who will be 50 years old by December 31st of this year. According to Diane Darnall, President of the Alaska Senior Games Board, there is no age limit. “I think our highest this year is 95,” she said.

This year’s games were trimmed to 16 events, including archery, trap shooting and pickleball. “Mostly outdoor events, or events that we feel we can socially distance and keep our athletes safe,” Darnall explained.

Mary Trotto volunteered to help at the horseshoe event, and plans to compete in Track and Field events on Sunday. She said, “I’ve only seen horseshoes played recreationally, not competitively, and so it’s really interesting to see them throwing and the different ways they start. It’s really great. I love it.”

According to Trotto, those who place in the top 3 in the state for their event go on to nationals. “Nationals [is] a kick. I mean, there’s so many people doing all kinds of things at Nationals, and they have parties, and they have opening ceremonies and closing ceremonies. It’s just like the Olympics. It’s really a kick.”

Trotto also said these games also represent an opportunity to celebrate seniors in the community. “It’s great, I think, for the young people who volunteer... and then they see, ‘well, there’s life after fifty.’”

Darnall explained of the seniors competing, “They’re all members or our community. They’ve done awesome work in volunteering for our youth organizations and different organizations around town. This is their week to shine - so if you see a senior, just say ‘hi’, wave at them, smile.”

The event brought volunteers and sponsors from around the community, including Disabled American Veterans Chapter 2, American Legion Post 11, and North Pole Veterans of Foreign Wars. The sand for the pits was provided by Fairbanks Aggregate Sand.

More information, as well as a schedule of the events, can be found here.

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