Sean Davis, executive director of t he Chaves County Retired Senior Volunteer Program, discusses the upcoming Senior Olympic State Games, which will be held in Roswell in July. Davis spoke to the Kiwanis Club of Roswell on Tuesday. (Randal Seyler Photo)
For the second year in a row, Roswell will host the New Mexico Senior Olympics State Games — and volunteers are needed.
“We had more than 800 athletes at last year’s event, and this year we expect more because it is a qualifying year,” said Sean Davis, executive director of the Chaves County Retired Senior Volunteer Program. “As a qualifying year, the top athletes from the New Mexico State Games get to go on to compete in the National Games in 2015.”
Due to this being a qualifying year, Davis estimates as many as 1,400 senior athletes will be in Roswell between July 16 and July 19 to compete in over 30 sports.
About 450 volunteers are needed to manage 90 different events in the various sports, and Davis said he is reaching out to all the local civic groups in search of helpers for the Senior Olympics. He was at the Kiwanis Club of Roswell meeting on Tuesday discussing the upcoming games and looking for volunteers as well as encouraging people to support the event.
Statewide, the New Mexico Senior Olympics features over 107 events in 28 different sports in more than 130 communities and 32 local game sites across the state encouraging a healthy lifestyle in mature adults aged 50 and over, according to the website, nmseniorolympics.org. New Mexico Senior Olympics State Team Tournaments are open to out-of-state teams in Basketball 3 on 3, Softball, and Volleyball.
New Mexico Senior Olympics is dedicated to provide 50-plus adults with opportunities for a healthy active lifestyle. Its mission is to promote physical fitness for seniors statewide: provide year-round opportunities and motivation for adults to participate in local, state and national games, according to the website.
“Not only is it a big deal for our local senior athletes, but it is a big deal for the city,” Davis said. “These athletes will be coming here and staying for basically a week.”
Sports range from horseshoes, air gun, archery, cycling, badminton, bowling, dance and talent, swimming and track and field, and the competitors are serious athletes, regardless of their ages, Davis said.
The Roswell Olympic medals are also among the most unique medals in the United States, and everyone wants to win one. “We really have had a lot of people comment on how neat our medals are,” Davis said.
Davis recently submitted a bid to the state for Roswell to host the Senior Olympics state games for the next four years as well, but he will not know for several weeks whether the bid was successful.
“This is really a big opportunity for our community, and we need to support these athletes. One of the big complaints we hear is that no one turns out to watch the events,” Davis said. He encouraged people 50 and older to participate in an event, and he encouraged everyone to come out and support the athletes.
Before a competitor can participate in the state games, they have to have participated in the local county-level Senior Olympics.
“In the past, you had to have been in the top six competitors to go on to state, but they have changed the rules,” Davis explained. “Now if you compete in the local games, you are eligible to participate in the state games.”
All volunteers who sign up to work at least one four-hour shift will receive a free T-shirt, a certificate of appreciation, and an invitation to attend the Volunteer Kickoff event.
Volunteers will sign up to work the event of their choice and all sport/event coordinators will confirm volunteer assignments. Volunteers must be 16 years old or older unless accompanied by an adult.
“Roswell needs more events like this that are non-alien related to support the community,” Davis said.
Anyone interested in volunteering can call Davis at 623-39690.