As the third-largest city in Indiana, Evansville does not receive the attention it deserves. It has the distinction of being first in the state for senior athletics, since local annual Senior Games have been held there for over 25 years. The Southwestern Indiana Region Council on Aging (called SWIRCA & More) has been the driving force behind this achievement, and when the opportunity came up three years ago to also become the Hoosier State's qualifying games for the National Senior Games, the agency and the community jumped at the opportunity.
Family-friendly would be a good description for this heartland city, so it was only fitting that we recognized an entire family of Senior Games bowlers in our Personal Best Tour presentation at their Celebration of Athletes. In his introduction, NSGA CEO Marc T. Riker acknowledged the welcoming spirit of the city and the warm social atmosphere found among the gathering of athletes in his remarks. He thanked SWIRCA's Healthy Aging Director Kristen Hood (who managed the Evansville games for 18 years) and current games coordinator Holly Schneider for the quality of competitions and the organization's commitment to senior fitness.
Riker then related the story of how Senior Games became the passion for Evansville bowler Carl Horstman nearly thirty years ago, and that four of his children and two in laws joined in the fun as they turned 50 and became eligible to play. After summarizing our Personal Best profile of The Horstman family, and how the Carl's legacy continues after his passing in 2012, Riker called up each family member one by one to receive a Personal Best certificate, beginning with 64 year old spokesman Tom Horstman. The highlight of the evening was when Tom handed Riker "Pop's" baseball cap heavily covered with collector pins Carl had gathered over the years, and Riker acted as if he would fall through the floor from its weight. Despite the absence of their patriarch, the emotion of the moment was collective joy and pride for the family. They even set up a display table with medals, awards, photographs and other memorabilia of the Horstman family's Senior Games journey for all to view and enjoy.
Our hosts also planned a busy itinerary for our visit, setting up four television interviews for Riker-three with local broadcast stations, and one with the University of Southern Indiana's media services to share on their channel and social media. (USI helps sponsor and provide sport venues for the Indiana State Games.) You can watch Riker's interview on Channel 25's "Lifestyles with Laura Kirtley" (pictured above) by Clicking Here.
We also observed competition in tennis, track and field, road race and race walk. Pictured above are Riker and staffer Del Moon with eight javelin throwers that are going to Minnesota in July to compete in the 2015 National Senior Games presented by Humana.
Thanks, Evansville. On to The Games!