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Winning never gets old: Visalia Senior Games is back for its 4th year

Winning never gets old: Visalia Senior Games is back for its 4th year

@TheSunGazette

VISALIA – Winning never gets old. That’s the motto of the Visalia Senior Games which is celebrating its fourth year with sporting and social events this weekend and next. And it doesn’t seem like the games themselves are getting old for participants either.

Maggie Kalar, recreation supervisor for the Visalia Parks and Recreation Department, said the games are on track to again play host to more than 500 senior competitors. While the majority of registrants live between Bakersfield and Fresno, Kalar said there are several groups coming from the Bay Area and Southern California and a handful from out of state. She said the visiting teams and individuals bring travel to town with friends and family where they stay for a weekend, spending money on lodging, food, and shopping. 

“They tend to come, book a few rooms, and stay for a few days, enough time to taking in a good piece of Visalia while they are here,” Kalar said. “We work with local lodging agencies to offer good rates, so the games do give a little boost to the local economy.” 

Registration is heaviest for pickleball, which has been growing in popularity in Visalia for the last four years. A hybrid between tennis and table tennis, pickleball uses a shorter court and large, ping-pong-like paddles. Other popular events, including swimming, and track & field return this year as well as mainstay events such as in archery, bowling, disc golf, golf, horseshoes, softball, table tennis, and trap shooting. Kalar said new events this year include men’s and women’s basketball, 5K/10K race, and cycling. The cycling and runs will go through Yokohl Valley which should offer athletics as well as awe thanks to the “superbloom” of wildflowers on the hillsides.

“We are excited to offer cycling this year thanks to a partnership with the Southern Sierra Cyclists,” Kalar said. 

One of the most popular events at the Visalia Senior Games is pickleball. A hybrid between tennis and table tennis, pickleball uses a shorter court and large, ping-pong-like paddles. File photo.

One of the most popular events at the Visalia Senior Games is pickleball. A hybrid between tennis and table tennis, pickleball uses a shorter court and large, ping-pong-like paddles. File photo.

Seniors who have not yet registered can still do so by mail at Visalia Parks & Recreation Department, 345 N. Jacob St., Visalia, CA 93291, online at www.visaliaseniorgames.com, or in person on the day of the event. Registration is $25 plus event fees.  Those who don’t want to compete but would like to participate in the event are invited to attend two social events. The first is an “I Love The 80s Game Night” from 4 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, March 23 at the Anthony Community Center, 345 N. Jacob St. The event is free to attend and $5 each to enter a dart or Texas Hold’Em poker tournament. Food and beverages are available for purchase. The second is Party in the Park from 4 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 30 at Plaza Park. The event is $10 and includes dinner. There will also be live music, dancing, and drinks as well as a cornhole tournament. The tournament is $15 to enter and also includes dinner. For more information, call 559-713-4365 or email recreation@visalia.city. 

The Visalia Senior Games was the first Senior Games in California’s Central Valley. Created under the umbrella of the California Senior Games Association (CSGA), the Visalia Senior Games promote healthy, active lifestyles for adults ages 50 and better. The Visalia Senior Games aim to provide excellent conditions for seniors who seek a competitive environment along with the camaraderie of other athletes. For more information, call the Visalia Parks and Recreation Department at 559-733-4365 or visit VisaliaSeniorGames.com. 

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