Rivers rink off to Canada Games


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On Aug. 26 the largest-ever team of Manitoba senior athletes will venture to Alberta to prove you're never too old for fun and games. This year the biannual Canada 55+ Games will be hosted by Strathcona County from Aug. 27-30. The Canada 55+ Games is a first-class sporting event that brings together more than 2,000 senior athletes from all over the nation for healthy competition and social camaraderie. Of the 155 athletes on Team Manitoba, four come from Rivers! Dennis and Maxine Veitch and Al and Donna Morken will be in Alberta to compete in a curling bonspiel.

The guiding mission statement of the games is to influence personal behaviour and social supports that encourage healthy, active living for older adults in Canada.

Team Manitoba’s manager Lois Dudgeon of Morden says, “Fun, fitness and friendship is the slogan both the administration and participants live by. Athletes come to the games to reconnect with old friends or to make new ones within the spirit of friendly competition. It really is four fun-filled days of friendly competition.”

Familiar sports like golf, curling, hockey and slo-pitch are featured alongside other activities such as cribbage, horseshoes and Scrabble. There areis a total of 22 events. The variety ensures that every senior, regardless of their fitness level, will be able to participate. Team Manitoba ranges in age from 56 to 93.

Team Manitoba was announced following the Manitoba 55+ Games qualifier, held June 17-19 in Neepawa. Nearly 1,000 Manitobans participated in the local event, built on the same principles of the Canada 55+ Games. Team Manitoba will enjoy opening ceremonies with an athletes parade, banquet and fireworks during the Wednesday to Saturday event. Participants will also be treated to additional cultural activities including a public art tour and live music from local talent such as The Alberta Country Legends. The next host community will also be announced at the closing ceremonies.

This is the first time the Prairies have hosted the Canadian games since 2006 at Portage la Prairie. Many older adults consider these games their version of Olympics. For more information on the Canada 55+ Games, visit www.canada55plusgames2014.com.