This April: 25th annual Senior Games of Richmond County

Kickoff, registration set for Feb. 18

By Kevin Spradlin

“Put me in, coach. I’m ready to play.”

At least a dozen Richmond County women are following the advice of the aspiring superstar in John Fogerty’s “Centerfield” and plan to suit up for the 25th annual Senior Games of Richmond County.

Softball and cycling are the newest events added to the annual affair, which celebrates healthy and active lifestyles of area seniors. Participants must turn 50 before Dec. 31 to be eligible for this year’s games, which will run run April 13 to April 27 at various venues across the county.

Senior_GamesThe Hamlet Senior Center will host a kickoff and registration gala from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Feb. 18. The registration fee is $11 and covers as many events for which one desires to sign up. There could be separate fees for events such as golf and bowling. In addition, participants must supply their own equipment for golf, archery and cycling.

Last year, 162 athletes completed more than 900 events in the county games. Mrs. Pete Wheeler, county senior games coordinator, said some individuals register for nearly a dozen events apiece.

Wheeler told The Pee Dee Post there’s something for everyone — team sports such as softball and tennis, individual sports such as golf, cycling, horseshoes and bocce, as well as performing arts, heritage arts and visual arts competition.

“There’s something for everybody,” Wheeler said.

After the North Carolina Senior Games in October — in which Wheeler was one of eight county residents to medal — she noted a desire to add new events to this year’s games. After the success of the Hot Mamas Softball League in Ellerbe in the summer of 2014, Wheeler said it wasn’t difficult to recruit enough women to field a team. In fact, there might be enough interest for two Richmond County teams.

Hot Mamas deputy commissioner Gay Rhyne posted to the league’s social media page to gauge interest. The response was immediate and unequivocal:

“Put me on there,” requested Audrey Hyde Richardson.

“Count me in,” exclaimed Connie Hyde Thomas.

Trena Jenkins’ position was quite clear: “When do we start?”

Wheeler said there could also be a men’s team but that’s not yet certain.

Cycling, meanwhile, is the only event of the Senior Games of Richmond County that will take place at an out-of-county venue. Wheeler sought advice from her Moore County peers and, like them, decided upon staging the event at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

“That’s going to be our local qualification,” Wheeler said. “There’s nowhere around here that we can get to use a track.”

Along with Wheeler, the local games committee includes Terry Mercer, Millie Wright, Mike Deese, Dianne Deese, James and Hazel Robinson, Hazel and Neal Haygood, Abbie Covington, Robbyn Sumpter, Jerry Nelson, Jimmy Reese, Maria Counsel, Olivia Webb, Leighton Bell and Leroy Crowder.

For information on this year’s games, call Wheeler at 910-206-2224 or email her at

Filed in: Latest Headlines, Outdoors, Sports

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