For the first time in a quarter of a century Roswell will host the New Mexico Senior Summer Olympic Games the week of June 12 through the 16th.
1988 was the last time the games were held in Roswell. Las Cruces has held the event for the past six years.
However, Roswell was able to wrestle the games to the Southeastern part of the state, not only for this year, but for next as well.
Executive Dir. Cecilia Acosta is very excited about hosting the games for two obvious reasons.
“The state offices for New Mexico Senior Olympics is here in Roswell and for the last six years we have packed our boxes and relocated to Las Cruces to run this event away from home; now for the next years we get to do it here and were excited about doing them in our backyard” said Acosta.
Roswell though had stiff competition from other cities which have hosted the event before. So how did the All American city land the sporting gig?
“The board of directors invited communities and cities who were interested in hosting the summer games through the RFP process,” she said.
The committee visited Roswell and they felt it had the best venues in regards to being senior friendly, that is events that are close to one another and not spread out,” Acosta pointed out.
This year’s event will hold 24 events in four days. Seniors throughout the state will be qualifying in their respective communities during the next few months. According to Acosta, “Once they qualify locally they advance to the state games here.”
Among some of the venues which will host sporting competitions will be the bowling alley, New Mexico Military Institute’s Godfrey Center, Cahoon Armory, as well as Stapp Field.
“We will also be at the Wool Bowl for the track and field and we’ll also use some of the city’s facilities for our road races and our horse shoe competition,” Acosta said.
The triathlon, however, will be held the same weekend as the Milkman Triathlon in Dexter, just two weeks before the Olympics Acosta explains why.
“We’re going to piggy back with the Milkman Triathlon. Their event is June 1st, ours is June 12 and we didn’t’ feel it was necessary to duplicate the event 10 days later so we’re going to link our senior triathletes to that event.”
Of the 800 or so athletes coming to Roswell they will compete in events ranging from basketball, golf, air gun, dance, horse shoes, and pickle ball among others. “We have something for everyone,” said Acosta.
Several athletes will be staying at the dorms at NMMI and also at ENMUR. But for those who want to make other lodging arrangements should contact local motels and hotels and make reservations as soon as possible.
Acosta reminds local seniors that they need to register and then qualify for events they plan to enter on the local level.
Sara Hall, the Chaves County Senior Olympics Coordinator reports that in order to participate an athlete must be 50 years old by the end of December of this year.
“So if you are 49 on December 30 and you turn 50 on December 31st you are eligible to participate in senior games this year,” Hall confirmed.
For those athletes who are going to participate in the senior games they need to register at the Roswell Adult Center at 807 N. Missouri before the end of Feb.
Local qualifying will held between the middle of March and the middle of April. “The top six in each age group qualify then you sign up for the state games that will be held here,” said Hall.
Hall indicates that because the national Senior Olympics is this year this year’s state Olympics is a non-qualifying year for nationals.
“We do have athletes who are going to the national games this year; they qualified in July of 2012.
For those who are not athletes and will not be 50 by December they can be volunteers for his year’s games. Hall explains.
“The volunteers they have a blast, they help out with scoring different events, judging different events, they will get training so we need help there.”
Hall says those who want to volunteer should come by the RASC and pick up a volunteer form.
One of the best days of the event is the banquet and dance. “Every county has a Spirits Athlete it’s a person who represents Senior Olympics and how they represent seniors,” said Hall.
Holding the senior games in mid June will add to the boon of festivities happening in Roswell during the summer.
Beginning with Hike and Spike It, the Fiddle and Griddle, the International Sci-Fi Film Festival, and of course the UFO Festival, Chile Cheese Festival, Piñata Fest and the Dragon Fly fest, Rowell will be the place to come to.
“With Senior Olympics coming here this year and next it’s a great opportunity to be able to showcase who we are as a community,” said Roswell Mayor Del Jurney.
Being that it is Roswell, renowned as the world’s first recorded crash landing of a UFO; the Senior Olympics will have an alien theme tied to it.
For more information on the New Mexico Senior Games call 623-5777.