The second Wine Country Senior Games are scheduled May 31 through June 10.
Senior athletes age 50 and over from the Healdsburg area who may have missed a chance to compete in the inaugural event last year can get a new chance starting Jan. 1.
That’s when online registration opens for the games, which included seven sports last year but have been expanded to 14 sports this time with venues throughout the county.
Sports for the 2012 Games will include archery, swimming, soccer, basketball, running, walking, tennis, bocce ball, golf, square dancing, table tennis, pickle ball and softball.
Venues, which will include Healdsburg and Windsor sites, are Lake Sonoma (archery), Santa Rosa JC (basketball and swimming), Juilliard Park (bocce ball), cycling (Healdsburg), golf (Windsor GC), Hiram Lewis Park in Windsor (pickle ball), Trione Fields in Santa Rosa (soccer), Magnolia Field in Rohnert Park (softball), Spring Lake Village in Santa Rosa (square dancing), Mountain Shadows Rec Center (table tennis), Cloverdale (5k and 10k run/walk).
The Games are open to anyone age 50 and over. Council on Aging president and CEO Marriane McBride sees the event as simply one more reason for those living outside the area to visit Sonoma County.
“Not only is participating in the Sonoma Wine Country Senior Games an opportunity for those in this area to celebrate life after 50, but participants from all over the United States will be able to explore one of the finest wine regions in the country, home to stately redwoods and a majestic coastline.”
The Wine Country Games are patterned after the Huntsman World Senior Games in St. George, Utah. Those games annually draw close to 10,000 senior athletes, and while the Wine Country Games attracted about 600 last year, as well as 100 volunteers. McBride and others expect the number to grow as the number of sports offered grows and word gets out.
The optimistic outlook is for the Wine Country Senior Games to continue to expand and draw more and more participants, with the goal to offer an event comparable to the Huntsman World Senior Games.
“There are other similar senior games across the country but what sets the Sonoma Wine Country Games apart is the opportunity to visit and explore a tourist destination that is one of the best-kept secrets,” explained McBride. “This place is home to award-winning wines, terrain that will remind you of the Tuscan countryside, artisan products such as cheese and olive oil, family farms and North Coast seafood.”
The Wine Country Games “welcomes athletes from this area but we also hope senior athletes from all over will come and play and stay the week with us,” she said.
Principal sponsor is Kaiser Permanente, with St. Joseph Health System a Platinum sponsor and the Flamingo Resort Hotel and Santa Rosa JC as Gold Medal sponsors.
Silver Medal sponsors include: Verihealth, Santa Rosa Convention and Visitors Bureau and the City of Santa Rosa.
Bronze Medal sponsors are Wells Fargo, Sonoma Bank, Exchange Bank and the
Blue Ribbon sponsorship comes from Sonoma Homecare, First Community Bank, Emeritus of Santa Rosa, Medtronic and At Home Nursing.
Partners in the Wine Country Senior Games include: City of Cloverdale, City of Rohnert Park, Cloverdale Chamber of Commerce, Sonoma County Parks and Recreation, Santa Rosa Parks and Recreation, Healdsburg Chamber of Commerce, Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce, Sonoma County Tourism Bureau, Spring Lake Village, The Press Democrat, Walgreens, Windsor Parks and Recreation and the Windsor Chamber of Commerce.
“The Games bring athletes together to share in and celebrate their individual successes whether a medal is won or not,” said Amy Crabb, COA development manager for COA’s Services to Seniors. “Friendships that can last a lifetime are created and nurtured.”
The Wine Country Senior Games are striving to become a world-class, Olympic-format, international sporting event for senior athletes.
“The Games provide participants a total experience, not just another sporting event,” said McBride. “Those attending can enjoy Sonoma-focused festivals, celebrations, social events, health screenings, food and wine experiences as well as developing long-term relationships.”
For more information, or to register or volunteer for the Wine Country Senior Games, go to www.winecountrygames.com