ST. GEORGE – Over 10,000 senior athletes gathered in Southern Utah to take part in over 25 different sports offered at the Huntsman World Senior Games from Oct. 5 through Saturday. Participating teams came representing 19 different countries and all 50 United States.
The games bring in an estimated $19.2 million to the local economy during the two week event.
“That’s a huge impact on our local economy and our community,” Kyle Case, CEO of the Huntsman World Senior Games, said. “It’s something that we’re proud of and excited to be a part of.”
Competing athletes bring a high level of passion for the sports each year, which is one of the biggest appeals of the games.
“If you’re 65 years old and still playing basketball or still swimming it’s because you love that sport,” Case said. “So consequently, the level of camaraderie and of sportsmanship is just through the roof.”
While pickleball and golf are some of the more popular sports offered at the games, John Rosander, director of sports for the Senior Games said, softball and volleyball are the two biggest draws each year.
“The best part of the senior games is the friendships that are gained,” Rosander said. “We find that many of these teams come from, and they are from, all over the world.”
Members of the Great Expectations, a 60+ women’s volleyball team, came from Oregon, Maryland, Virginia and Florida to compete.
“Being from the East Coast I love the scenery out here,” Joncie Underwood of Maryland said. “It’s just breathtaking.”
Event organizers are looking forward to planning their 30th anniversary year, which will take place in 2016.
“Next year we will have our 30th year anniversary,” Rosander said. “It’ll be a big production that we’re going to put on to celebrate that 30 years.”
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