West Sound Senior Games come to town

Seniors are expected to steal the spotlight in Bremerton next weekend for the first-ever West Sound Senior Games.

The four-day event will pit dozens of athletes divided by age divisions in a variety of sports from three-on-three basketball to 8-ball pool.

The games start with the 70s men’s singles tennis at 4 p.m. Thursday at Bremerton High School.

“We see this at all levels as mostly recreational,” said Rainey Stolp, who runs the Bremerton Senior Center and is the commissioner for the 8-ball tournament. “This is for the average person to go out and enjoy their sport with other athletes.”

To be qualified to enter the tournament, you have to be at least 50 years old before Dec. 31, Stolp said.

The games are in 10 locations around Bremerton and last through Sunday afternoon.

“I think the seniors need every outlet,” said Sally Cole, one of the only senior female pool players in the tournament. “It gives the older people an opportunity to get out and do something other than just play cards.”

City Council member Will Maupin is the basketball commissioner. So far, he has entered four teams in the tournament. They will play round-robin style, where every team plays every other team, and the the squad with the best overall record wins.

“This is the first time we have had so many seniors get together,” Maupin said. “Right now, we don’t have a lot of players but we have a lot of good teams.”

Maupin’s team is composed of himself and couple players who often play basketball at the Kitsap Family YMCA during the noon hour.

He said the team to beat will be a group of seniors from Sequim.

Events will be held in basketball, racquetball, soccer, swimming, tennis, pool, table tennis, five-kilometer race, softball and track and field.

So far, Commissioner Larry Bricker has compiled 40 tennis players in various age divisions. Jeff Elevado, the athletics and swim director at the parks department, has culled local talent to get 18 bodies in the water for the swim competition, which begins at Glen Jarstad Aquatic Center at 9 a.m. Friday.

The pool tournament has 12 entries, including Cole’s husband, Mel.

Each contestant paid a $25 registration fee, which also includes a T-shirt and entry into the celebration dinner on Saturday evening.

There, Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman will address the guests.

Although the registration deadline was June 28, Stolp said some events will accept late entries.

“There is a good population of people over 50 who participate in senior league tournaments already,” Maupin said.

Cole is shooting for success in the pool tournament. She said sometimes it takes a few shots before she can get respect from the males she plays against.

“I think I’m going to be the only woman,” she said.

She and her husband regularly play at the Bremerton Senior Center and the Port Orchard Senior Center, especially during the winter.

A few athletes applaud the fact that the games occur during the summer when some of the sports participation diminishes.

“It gives seniors an opportunity to meet new people,” Elevado said. “Most of them are really dedicated to the sports they are playing.”

Winners are awarded medals, presented immediately following each event.

The games are sponsored by the city of Bremerton and the non-profit National Senior Games Association.

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