The kick-off registration for Lincoln County Senior Games is this Friday at the Lincoln County Senior Center. This is the third year that Lincoln County has had its own senior games. In 2019, Lincoln County seniors competed locally and then at the North Carolina Senior Games, bringing home the medals.
Tim Hepler won a gold medal in the 10K with a time of 54:46.07. The “Wildcats” cheerleader team consisting of Carol Black, Donita Davis and Debra Putnam received a silver medal. William McGuire received a silver medal for the 1,500-meter run with a time of 6:01.71 and Steve Herman got a bronze in horseshoes.
At the local Senior Games, Hepler competed in track and field events and did very well, winning several gold and silver medals. At the State Games he only ran in the 10K because that’s his best event. He finished with the second fastest time on record for the State Senior Games.
“There’s no ‘too old’ to take up running,” he said. “I was in a race in Hickory last November and there was a World War II veteran racing in it. If you want to see a Fountain of Youth go to any running event and you’ll see people in their 70s and 80s that don’t look their age.”
Cathy Davis was the first Lincoln County woman to bring home a gold medal at the state games during the inaugural Lincoln County Senior Games year.
“When Lincoln County began the effort to stand alone, having their own senior games, I attended a meeting and a member of the committee to help facilitate the Silver Arts portion of the games,” she said. “As I sat listening about the various events and rules, it dawned on me, ‘you’re a senior – you qualify to participate in the senior games.’ So, I decided to sign up and participate.”
That first year Davis earned several medals in local athletic events. This qualified her to go to the State Senior Games in Raleigh. Of those she qualified for, she decided to participate in horseshoes and table tennis.
“It was quite an experience,” she said. “I had no idea how serious athletes were until I arrived at the games. I think I was one of the few that pitched horseshoes that did not carry my own box with my personal horseshoes and gloves. Table tennis was much the same with a few players sporting jackets from their table tennis club and a few coaches in attendance – yes coaches.”
What Davis said she was most proud of is the level of support the seniors received from the Lincoln County Parks and Recreation Department.
“They are extremely efficient in providing all participants with rules and regulations for every activity and ensure that practice times are posted, and tools of the sport are made available to those that need them,” she said. “They cheer everyone on and are as patient as they can be with all of us.”
During the past two years, Davis’ sister, Tammy Gilmore, joined her in participating. They play doubles in horseshoes, table tennis and shuffle board and then they compete against each other in singles.
“It gets interesting,” Davis said. “I have never been able to beat her at shuffleboard.”
Davis competed in Silver Arts for the first time last year. She competed in the literary category writing a short story and essay.
“I enjoy meeting all the seniors from our community that participate,” she said. “They are so supportive of each other by offering tips and cheering each other on. Everyone truly enjoys the games and the fellowship.”
Registration for the 2020 Lincoln County Senior Games opens on Friday Jan. 31. Registration packets are available online or can be picked up at the Lincoln County Parks and Recreation Office in Lincolnton, the East Lincoln Community Center in Denver and the Lincoln County Senior Center in Lincolnton. Completed registration forms can be returned to any of these locations and are due by March 2. Early bird registration is just $10.
The registration kickoff event will take place on Friday, Jan. 31 at the Lincoln County Senior Center from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
For any questions about registration or any of the games, contact the Parks and Recreation office at (704) 748-1518 for more information.