Seniors Stay Active by Participating in Senior Games

By Judie Holcomb-Pack

Without a doubt, today’s seniors are more active than ever. When it comes to participating in Senior Games, one comment I’ve heard over and over is, “If I had known how much fun it was, I would have started earlier!”

The official age for participation in Senior Games is age 50, so you would need to be age 50 by December 31, 2018, to participate in this year’s games. But many older adults don’t start until their late 50s or wait until they are retired before “taking the leap” into Senior Games competition. But the earlier you start, the more fun you’ll have!

What is Senior Games?

In 1985 in St. Louis, Missouri, a group of seven men and women formed the original leadership for what was initially known as the National Senior Olympics Organization. Their vision: to promote healthy lifestyles for adults through education, fitness and sports.

In the fall of 1985 they hosted a meeting of individuals who were currently conducting games for seniors in their 33 states. That group planned the first National Senior Olympic Games, held in 1987 in St. Louis. The games were a great success with 2,500 competitors. Over 100,000 spectators viewed the first Games ceremonies featuring Bob Hope at the St. Louis Riverfront Arch. Their enthusiasm was infectious and when the second National Games took place in 1989, over 3,500 seniors participated and the Games were covered by the New York Times, ESPN and Good Morning America.

Due to an objection of the United States Olympic Committee to Senior Games including the name “Olympic,” in 1990 the organization’s name was changed to the U.S. National Senior Sports Organization and named their signature event the National Senior Games. The NSGA exists today as a non-profit organization dedicated to motivating active adults to lead a healthy lifestyle through the senior games movement and is the largest multi-sport event in the world for seniors.

Our N.C. Senior Games began in 1983 with a similar goal: to create a year-round health promotion and education program for North Carolinians 50 years of age and better and to provide a holistic approach to body, mind and spirit, staying fit while enjoying the company of other seniors.

Today, there are over 60,000 participants in 53 Local Games programs that serve all 100 counties across the state.

Who can participate?

Participants in Piedmont Plus Senior Games and SilverArts come primarily from Forsyth and Stokes counties, but it is open to any and all N.C. residents unless otherwise noted as a closed event.

A participant must be an N.C. resident for a minimum of three consecutive months.

Age category is determined by your age on December 31, 2018. Men and women compete in singles categories in the following five-year age increments: 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70-74, 75-79, 80-84, 85-89, 90-94, 95-99, and 100+. And yes, there are some spry competitors in that last category!

Official gold, silver and bronze medals are awarded in each athletic event and age category for both men and women. (Golfers must also meet a minimum performance score to be invited to the N.C. Senior Games in Raleigh.) Finalists are invited to participate in NCSG in Raleigh. In each of the Performing Arts and Cheerleading Categories, judges select one of the first-place acts to advance to NCSG. 1st and 2nd place winners in the Literary Arts sub-categories, and 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners in the Heritage and Visual Arts sub-categories are eligible to advance to the NCSG.

Senior Games is a year-round wellness and education program. Every April the program culminates with athletic, art, craft and performance competitions that draw hundreds of participants. The Piedmont Plus Senior Games offer 38 athletic and skill events, including traditional track and field events, team sports such as basketball and softball, recreational sports such as golf and bowling, and tests of skill such as football throwing and spin casting

SilverArts competitions are offered in 32 categories of heritage, visual, performing and literary arts, including painting, singing, needlecrafts and photography. Silver Arts participants also compete for medals.

If you’re 50 or better, there’s no finer way to stay active than to participate in the Senior Games and SilverArts. Winning a medal is exciting, but the Senior Games and SilverArts offer much greater rewards for everyone who participates — an active lifestyle, fun and fellowship!

For more information contact:

Piedmont Plus Senior Games, 2301 N. Patterson Ave., Winston-Salem 27105. Contact Chuck Vestal at 336-727-2325.

Kick-off Event

Friday, January 19, 10 a.m. – noon

Hanes Hosiery Recreation Center
501 Reynolds Blvd., Winston-Salem.

Pick up your entry form, participate in games, visit sponsor booths, enjoy light refreshments provided by Sheetz and register for door prizes.

Guilford County Senior Games & SilverArts: Call Jennie Matkins at 336-373-7564 or visit Registration
opens Feb 1 and closes Mar 2.

High Point Senior Games & SilverArts: To register or for more information, stop by the Roy B. Culler Senior Center, 600 N. Hamilton St., High Point, call the local coordinator, Tina Boston, at 336-883-3584, or visit


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