DOBSON — Overcast skies did little to dampen the spirit of the nearly 200 senior citizens who turned out to Fisher River Park for the opening ceremony of the 2012 Yadkin Valley Senior Games.
Organizer Celena Watson said this year’s 14th annual games features 195 registered participants who will test their mettle in 51 events throughout the month. The Yadkin Valley games are one of 53 state-sanctioned events under the umbrella of the North Carolina Senior Games.
They were organized to promote the health and wellness of senior adults, Watson said, noting that the games are growing by leaps and bounds.
“This is the largest participation ever in the history of the Yadkin Valley games,” she said as she looked over the crowd lined up to register.
During yesterday’s opening ceremonies, Watson said that for the first time, a cornhole event has been sanctioned by the state.
“We had 78 participants sign up to compete in the event, so we will probably give it a separate day next year due to the enormous interest,” she said. The oldest competitors this year are 95 and 96 years old, Watson added.
While the games will be held throughout the month, yesterday’s activities included a fun walk, a spin casting competition, a softball toss and the cornhole competition.
“The interest in the games is growing tremendously,” Watson said, noting that 99 participants signed up to take part in the fun walk around the picturesque park. “It just goes to show that you’re never too old to play.”
The opening ceremonies featured an honor guard presentation by the Surry County Sheriff’s Office, and a wonderful a Capella rendition of the National Anthem by Eileen Kidd.
Two of the games’ ambassadors, Shirley Nichols and Jackie Lewis, performed the torch-lighting ceremony.
One of the highlights of the opening ceremony was a performance by the Sassy Seniors Line Dance Group, who performed their award-winning dance that took the state silver medal last year.
As the sounds of Roy Orbison’s “Pretty Woman” faded and the applause for the dancers died down, Watson once again stepped to the microphone.
“It’s time,” she said. “Let the games begin!”
This year’s games are sponsored by the Senior Centers of Surry County, Humana Healthcare, the SHIIP program, Mountain Valley Hospice, the Surry County chapter of Healthy Carolinians, Yadkin Valley Senior Care, United HealthCare, Home Instead and ProHealth.
Closing ceremonies are set for for May 31 at the Andy Griffith Playhouse.
Reach Keith Strange at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1929.