WEEKEND — Olympic Peninsula Senior Games begin

PORT ANGELES — The seventh annual Olympic Peninsula Senior Games start this morning with horseshoes and quickly escalates into more active and varied events.

More than 500 seniors, many from outside the Peninsula, will compete in at least 18 events including tennis, cycling, track and field, basketball, volleyball, swimming, bowling, Pickleball and recreational softball, to name just a few, from today through Sunday.

Horseshoes open the Senior Games today at 9 a.m.

Golf also will be held today, starting at noon at Peninsula Golf Club.

Most events start Saturday, though, including Bocce, cribbage and Pickleball (doubles) at 8:30 a.m., cycling (check-in), tennis and volleyball at 9 a.m., basketball at 9:30 a.m., bridge and indoor rowing at 11 a.m., cycling, 5-kilometer and 10K runs and recreational softball at 10 a.m., racquetball at 10:30 a.m., Pickleball (singles) at noon, pinochle playoffs at 12:30 p.m., bowling and swimming at 1 p.m. and bowling again at 3 p.m.

Most athletes are at least 50 years old although women as young as 45 can participate in a couple of events.

All participants should pick up their packets and T-shirts this morning starting at 8 in the Senior Games headquarters at Port Angeles Senior Center, 328 E. 7th St.

“We like to see everybody before the Games start,” Senior Games executive director D Bellamente said.

Donated refreshment

Participants and volunteers will be treated to coffee donated by Bella Rosa Coffee House at packet pick-up today.

“Nothing says ‘I love you’ than a cup from Bella Rosa,” Bellamente said.

Bellamente, her staff and volunteers are trying to beat last year’s registration numbers that topped off at 525.

Bellamente is expecting a few last-minute sign-ups.

“A lot of indoor rowers come in at the last minute to register,” she said.

“I’m pretty pleased with where we are right now with our registration numbers.”

Opening ceremonies will be tonight with Peninsula College men’s basketball coach Lance Von Vogt as the keynote speaker.

Von Vogt and a few of his friends also will carry the Senior Games torch from the old historical district up Lincoln Street to Seventh Street and on to the Senior Center.

They will start the torch run at about 6:45 p.m. with Von Vogt’s keynote speech starting at 7 p.m.

“My message will be that athletes come in all sizes, shapes and ages,” Von Vogt said.

“It all leads to a healthy lifestyle.”

Opening activities will continue until about 8:30 p.m., Bellamente said.

But the socializing and fun won’t end on Friday.

A “hoe-down” theme celebration banquet is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. on Saturday at Park View Villas, 1430 Park View Lane.

The banquet costs $22 per person and will feature Amanda Bacon and her supporting band.

“It’s a full-meal deal,” Bellamente said about the banquet. “Bring more than one stomach.”

The celebration banquet is a way that participants can socialize beyond their individual events and sports, Bellamente said.

“Tennis players might want to mingle with swimmers,” she added.

The Senior Games conclude Sunday with Pickleball (mixed doubles), recreational softball, tennis, bowling, Pinochle championship and track and field.

Bellamente, the executive director all seven years, has medaled in past years in the 5K run and bowling.

But she’s taking this year off from competition to spend her time in the headquarters office to direct the Games and be available to answer questions from participants and volunteers.

________

Sports Editor Brad ­LaBrie can be reached at 360-417-3525 or at [email protected]

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