By Beau Eastes
The Oregon Senior Games are back after a 10-year absence, and the city of Bend is excited to play host.
“We’re thrilled to be reviving the Oregon Senior Games and bringing them to Bend for the first time,” says Kevney Dugan of Visit Bend, which is helping put on the Olympics-style event. “This is an amazing opportunity to present a competitive yet fun and social event to an older set of visitors that showcases Bend as the ultimate outdoor playground.”
Open to participants age 50 and older, the Oregon Senior Games will take place primarily from June 19 through June 22. Competitions in 16 different sports will be offered, with the top four finishers in most events qualifying for the 2015 National Senior Games in St. Paul, Minn. Registration costs are as low as $5 for some events, and up to $140 for the 36-hole golf tournament at Lost Tracks and Widgi Creek golf courses. While traditional sports such as cycling, swimming, running and softball make up most of the senior games, events like cowboy action shooting and over the line, a three-person bat-and-ball contest, are also offered. Oregon is an “open” state, so men and women from all over the country are welcome to participate.
While most events are still two months away, the cycling portion of the Oregon Senior Games will be May 24 as part of the Bend Don’t Brake road race east of town. Male cyclists will race five laps of the 9.9-mile course (49.5 miles) and female competitors will race three laps (29.7 miles).
Cowboy action shooting, in which competitors typically use some combination of pistols, rifles and shotguns on a Western-themed course, will be June 14, a week before the rest of the games, at the Central Oregon Shooting Sports Association east of Bend.
The bulk of the Oregon Senior Games competition then kicks off on June 19, when pickleball at Pine Nursery Park gets things underway at 8 a.m. The senior games run through the weekend, and closing ceremonies are set for 11 a.m., June 22, at Riverbend Park.
Participation estimates for the event vary, but the state of Washington, which has been holding its senior games in Olympia for the past 17 years, reportedly expects nearly 2,000 participants for its event in July.
Registration is now open for all events.
Oregon Senior Games
When: June 19-22
Note: Cycling takes place May 24 as part of the Bend Don’t Brake road race, and cowboy action shooting is scheduled for June 14.