On April 26 and 27, seniors from several Indian communities gathered at the Salt River Community Building early in the morning for registration and breakfast prior to the Salt River Senior Games.
Seniors from the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, the Gila River Indian Community, Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, Tohono O’odham Nation and Peach Springs participated.
After breakfast on the first day, the seniors were ready to compete in individual events. The seniors headed over to the stations with the gamesthey wanted to participate in, from the chicken throw to archery. Every year the chicken throw has everyone laughing and screaming as the rubber chicken sometimes flies out of control toward the spectators or the other competitors waiting their turn. There was also a wiffle ball game outside.
Inside, seniors played adaptive leisure games for individuals with limited movement, such as the basketball throw, hockey slap, beanbag toss and the paper crunch. Individual games in the gym included a timed obstacle course. Participants raced each other through the course, which consisted of a run, then placing balls from one basket into an empty basket, then jumping over steps, and finally pulling a bag of sand halfway from the court to the end.
The 8-pound medicine ball throw gained attention as seniors challenged each other on who could toss the weighted ball the farthest.
Community member Roberta Seepie was excited about her participation. “I did well in three games: the kettle ball throw and the wiffle ball game, and I think I got first on the obstacle course,” said Seepie.
“Just about everything I competed in had good competition,” said Everett Belone. “I enjoyed competing with the other communities.”
After games ended and lunch was served, Zumba fitness party instructors Robin Mowers and Rachel Seepie led interested seniors through different Zumba routines, which are dance routines with Latin and international-inspired music.
Many seniors watched and/or participated in the 30-minute workout.
On the second day, team games were played in the Pi-Copa Gym, which was filled with four chair volleyball courts. There were 10 chair volleyball teams competing against each other. Among the teams were Super Six and the Majestics, both Salt River Community-member teams.
“The games were good; everything was organized,” Sharilyn Belone. “I like all the games they had this year, especially archery, which I won second place in.”
“I really enjoyed chair volleyball,” said Rebecca Collins, who was sitting next to Sharilyn Belone.
The Senior Games are held for seniors ages 55 and over from Native American communities. Individuals ages 45 to 54 with a physical disability also are welcome to participate in the adaptive games.