Hundreds of senior citizens from the Big Sandy area competed in Floyd County on May 17 during the 34th Annual Big Sandy Senior Games.
Event coordinator Stacy Hall said 258 senior citizens from 17 senior citizens centers in Floyd, Pike, Johnson, Martin and Magoffin counties traveled to the Dewey Dam Spillway Recreational Area to participate this year.
Hall, who has been coordinating the Big Sandy Senior Games for the Big Sandy Area Development District for at least 10 years, said the seniors “get pretty competitive” at this event.
They practice prior to the event at their senior citizens centers, she said.
She said they “kind of like to give each other a hard time.”
Big Sandy Area Development Director Ben Hale joked with the seniors when he thanked a long list of sponsors who made the Big Sandy Senior Games possible.
“Happy competition,” he told them. “There’ll be no hair-pulling, no spitting, no hitting below the belt, no cussing, none of that stuff.”
Seniors competed in cornhole, horseshoes, softball toss, football tosses, lawn bowling, basketball shoot, basketball free throw, shuffleboard and archery. Winners will be honored during a banquet that will be held later this month at Jenny Wiley State Resort Park.
Hall said coordinating the Big Sandy Senior Games is a rewarding job.
“We love it. We love to do this for the local senior citizens in our Big Sandy region, in our area. They love these games. They love to compete. They practice at their own senior citizen centers to get ready,” she said. “Also, they love to come to Jenny Wiley to the awards banquet, get fed, and try to win some medals.”
She said the senior games help seniors stay active and socialize. That’s true for Sharon Bartley and Glema Stiltner, who visit the Elkhorn Senior Citizens Center nearly every weekday in Pike County.
They both got involved with that center after their husbands died.
“It gets me out of the house. I would be sitting at home otherwise. We get out and we go places and we have a lot of fun … Companionship with everybody, that’s what so good about it,” Stiltner said.
She said it gives her “something to look forward to.”
When asked what she’d do without her local senior citizens center, Bartley said, “I don’t know. I’d just be sitting at the house, thinking of things, you know, just depressed. I’d be depressed. I was really depressed because I just lost my husband, and I had done all I could do to the house, and I was just sitting there and somebody suggested I should go,” she said.
Friday marked Bartley’s second attempt and the Big Sandy Senior Games, and it marked the third year for Stiltner. She was eyeing her second cornhole tournament title, having won it last year.
Hale said the Big Sandy Senior Games would not be possible without its sponsors.
“You need to understand that if they did not help us and commit to the funding of this, this would be very hard for us to do. We really, truly thank our sponsors for this. We aggravate them every year … and they’re always just happy to help with this event,” he said.