The Town of Cutler Bay once again hosted its Senior Games and this year the popular annual event, conducted Oct. 16-20, attracted 50 participants.
The Senior Games movement began in Florida in 1974 and was spearheaded by the Florida Sports Foundation. The Senior Games is a multi-sport event program for adults ages 50 and older. The Cutler Bay Senior Games is sanctioned by the Florida Senior Games, so participants may qualify to take part in the state games during December in Clearwater.
People from as far north as Boynton Beach and as far south as the Florida Keys participated in 11 sports that included basketball, swimming, pickleball, tennis, table tennis, horseshoes, billiards, bowling, and shuffleboard.
Peter Julian from Miami Veterans Affairs was crowned bowling champion this year. Arlene Welsh, who earned the bronze medal in table tennis this year, also competed in the Florida Senior Games in Clearwater last year after qualifying at Cutler Bay’s Games.
The most seasoned participant was Robert Mercer, age 81, who competed in swimming. Vice Mayor Sue Ellen Loyzelle participates annually in the Senior Games, and earned the silver medal in shuffleboard singles and the gold medal in shuffleboard doubles.
“It was a wonderful experience,” Loyzelle said. “It was great to meet seniors from all over the region. Cutler Bay is the only regional qualifier in South Florida. It was nice to have our Cutler Bay residents participate, but it was also nice to welcome others to our community.
“As the town seeks to become more age friendly, we would like to grow the games to encompass more activities. We appreciate our sponsors, East Ridge and Bird Bowl, who allowed us to use their facilities as well as our parks.”
The Senior Games culminated in an awards ceremony and barbecue on Oct. 20 at the Town Hall building. Mayor Peggy Bell and Loyzelle recognized the participants and medalists.
Community partners such as TD Bank, Sunshine Life Insurance, Humana, Communities for a Lifetime, CAC, Continucare, and the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center attended the ceremony and provided participants with educational material. Also in attendance were representatives from Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s office and Miami-Dade Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava’s office, along with Ken Cormier, executive director of East Ridge at Cutler Bay.
“We constantly strive to provide our active adults with ways to stay healthy and happy,” Bell said. “The annual Senior Games event is a great way to come together to have fun and be fit. Each year I look forward to seeing some familiar faces, and welcoming new athletes from all over South Florida to our community.”
The Cutler Bay Senior Games is coordinated by the town’s Parks and Recreation Department and Communities for a Lifetime Advisory Committee with the help of local corporate sponsors HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital, AARP, Commissioner Levine Cava, Humana, TD Bank, CAC, and Continucare.
For information call the Parks and Recreation Department at 305-238-4166 or visit the town’s website at www.cutlerbay-fl.gov.