SENIOR LIVING: Standing champs practicing for Golden Age Games

By Sheila Harris

Fun and games are scheduled to get underway in October for the team of residents from Cassville’s Roaring River Health & Rehab (RRHR) scheduled to participate in the annual marathon of events for seniors known as the “Golden Age Games.” 

The games are an all-day series of fun competitions held in the Monett High School Gymnasium.

RRHR Activities Director Norma Kirkpatrick said the RRHR team will go into the games as the reigning champs.

“Last year, we brought back first-place trophies for ‘Overall Points’ and for ‘Traveling Spirit,’” said Kirkpatrick, who has led a team to the games for the past several years.

This year, Kirkpatrick said there are 22 residents signed up, so far, who will participate in events such as wheelchair races, hog-calling, cow-milking, bingo, knowledge bowl, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair soccer and horseshoes.

“For all of the wheelchair events – whether they use a wheelchair for mobility or not – residents must sit in a wheelchair in order to participate,” Kirkpatrick said. “For the wheelchair races, younger residents are given a time-handicap in order to even out the playing field.”

Kirkpatrick said Hiland Dairy participates in the cow-milking contest by donating wooden bottles set up to simulate the milk-delivery method of real cows.

“The games are just a big, ol’ day of fun,” she said.

Kirkpatrick said there are usually about 10 teams, representing 10 different area residential care facilities, who participate in the games. Each team decorates a booth, which is used as their base of operations for the day.

The traveling Team Spirit award is earned by the enthusiasm a facility’s team shows, and by the volume and effort they put into cheering for their teammates and even other team’s competitors.

“We’ve won the Team Spirit award because our residents are so into it,” Kirkpatrick said. “You can’t win by sitting around being mopey.”

Practice for this year’s Golden Age Games begins in August, Kirkpatrick said.

“We have a few new participants signed up for the games this year, and lots of residents who are repeat participants,” Kirkpatrick said. “After a resident participates for the first time, they’re usually hooked and they want to go back the next year.”

According to Kirkpatrick, fundraisers for the Golden Age Games have been ongoing for the past several months.

“We’ve held a bake sale, baked potato sale and various raffles,” she said. “Funds raised go toward a registration fee, snacks, drinks, lunch and live entertainment, with a portion of the proceeds going toward monetary prizes. Last year, we won $250 for the First Place Overall Points prize and $250 for the First Place Spirit prize.”

Kirkpatrick said residents are hoping to raise another $500 before this year’s games.

“We don’t have a firm date for the event yet, although, we do know it will happen in October,” she said. “We have to wait for the Monett School District to let us know what day the gym will be available.”

For more information about the Golden Age Games, or to make a donation, please contact Norma Fitzpatrick at Roaring River Health & Rehab at 417-847-2184.