For more than one dozen South Cariboo competitors, it was a long trip to the West Kootenay 2011 BC Seniors Games last week, but definitely worth it.
The local athletes represented Zone 9 North-Central Region at the games Aug. 16-20 in the host cities of Castlegar, Nelson and Trail.
In total, the South Cariboo contingent brought home three gold medals and three bronze medals, with some making return visits to the games, and others, including Bruce Findlay of 100 Mile House, participating for the first time.
Findlay, who competed in the men’s archery 60-64 years division, was on the mark for two gold medals, with one in the 3D target shoot, compound bow category and the other in the target shoot, compound bow category.
Findlay, who is an avid bow hunter, says he entered the games because he thought it would be a good practice opportunity for the upcoming bow-hunting season.
“I figured that I could hit two birds with one stone. I could get ready for hunting, and do what the rest of the world does, and compete.
“It was a good experience. I’ll probably go back again.”
Gold was also struck in carpet bowling by the team of Rose and Rob Magnusson of Lone Butte and Ed and Maureen Van Gool from Bridge Lake. They won the men and women’s 55 years-plus team of four division, but Maureen says they faced stiff competition and a grueling game schedule.
“We played six games a day for two consecutive days, with almost six hours of steady playing each day. What a thrill it was to stand on the podium later and have the RCMP slip the medals around our necks.
“The games were just fabulous and it was a grand time.”
The team plays together regularly with the Interlakes Carpet Bowling Club and they won silver at the 2009 Games.
Maureen and Ed also earned a bronze medal in pairs competition at the 2011 BC Provincial Carpet Bowling Championships in May.
A couple of track-and-field bronze medals went to Beverly Iverson of 108 Mile, in the 1,500-metre run and in the 5,000-metre power walk. She also placed fourth in the 10-kilometre power walk.
The 74-year-old competed at the 2010 games in swimming events, but surgery last January kept her out of the pool and she was unable to train for this year’s event. She couldn’t swim, but she could walk, so Iverson decided to focus on walking and running events.
“It was my first time in the track competition and I had no concept of the distances. I just about died doing the 1,500.
“It was all much harder than I had expected. It made me feel good, though, especially because I had never done it before.”
This was her fourth year competing at the Seniors Games, and Iverson says she’ll be back again next year when Burnaby hosts the event.
Also in the medals was Lawrence Pigeon from Clinton, who won bronze in men’s 60-plus years ice hockey.
Other South Cariboo athletes who competed, but did not medal were Sandy Hurly and Roy Winton in carpet bowling, and in darts, Dan Carson, Rene and Ruth LeBlanc, Sue and Rick Lunstead, and Ralph MacEachem.
The BC Seniors Games included 24 sports and approximately 3,500 participants, aged 55 years and older who came from all areas of the province to compete.