Reno, Nevada: “We’re Getting Slaughtered, But We’re Having a Great Time!”

Andrea Laue, in, writes:

A competitor stands ready to return a ball during  mixed doubles pickleball at the 2019 Reno/Tahoe Winter Senior Games.

“We’re getting slaughtered, but we’re having a great time” was how Missy Patton, 68, described her pickleball experience at the 2019 Reno/Tahoe Winter Senior Games. Patton and her pickleball partner Ann Adams, 62, traveled from the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada to compete in their second Reno/Tahoe Senior Games.

Modeled after senior games hosted in other cities across the nation, the 2019 Reno/Tahoe installment ran January 30 to February 14. There were 21 different events at this winter games, ranging from cross-country skiing to bocce ball to indoor rock climbing. Card games such as cribbage and poker were also offered.

“We hope for everyone who participates in the Games to have a great time, meet new people, try new things, and most importantly have fun,” wrote Dan Massey, recreation manager with the city of Reno.

Accounting for about 60% of pre-registrations, pickleball was the most popular event. Bean bag baseball, a favorite in area senior residences, was also well subscribed. Weightlifting was new this year, and Massey noted that the City is open to suggestions for new events to include in future games.

“We hope for everyone who participates in the Games to have a great time, meet new people, try new things, and most importantly have fun.”

Pickleball player Kristen “KC” Cook, 58, returned to compete in the Games because “the camaraderie is really cool,” it’s  “a tournament situation without the pressure.”

The bowlers also exhibited a competitive camaraderie, cheering the pickups and dismissing the gutter balls. Larry Walters, 68, said his bowling “comes and goes, it’s like my golf game.”  After six frames, Walters had five strikes and one spare. Beware if he ever challenges you to a golf game.

Several competitors at the indoor climbing event had banded together to form teams that compete in various games to amass points for their squad. Caught just after completing a route, Donna Clotz, 72, of Reno listed the games she’s competing in: “shuffleboard, swimming, basketball, cross-country skiing…I do a lot!” Clontz earns points for her team for each event, and the team that finishes with the most points wins a trophy.

While city staff do the heavy lifting to organize events, volunteers help run all and business sponsors provide venues for some of the events. Want to get involved in a future Games but not interested in or eligible to compete? “Volunteer!” wrote Dan Massey in email correspondence. “We love our volunteers, if interested please reach out and we will find a spot for you! ”

The City has been hosting Senior Games since at least 2001. Missed the Winter Games this year? Keep an eye out for an announcement of the Summer Games.


More information, including results from the Winter Games, is available on the Reno/Tahoe Senior Games website.

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