Personal Best Tour – September 10, 2016, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
In Photo: Don Hoeppner is congratulated for his Personal Best Award by NSGA CEO Marc T. Riker, along with Wisconsin Senior Olympics President John White (left) and Executive Director Mollie Bartelt.
NSGA visited the swimming competitions for the 2016 Wisconsin Senior Olympics at Shorewood VHE Community Pool to present a Personal Best Award to 85-year-old Don Hoeppner, who was described in his profile feature as “a man who never met a sport he didn’t like.”
“Our recognition program has profiled people from many backgrounds. We’ve found that the majority decide to pick up a sport in midlife to enjoy greater health and the social experience,” NSGA CEO Marc T. Riker told the poolside audience numbering more than 125 athletes and supporters. “Don has always stayed active and been involved in sports, which is reflected in the excellent quality of life he continues to enjoy. He inspires others of all ages to become more active to improve their own lives.”
Don has not missed any of the Wisconsin state games since he began in his 50s and has played most of the sports offered over nearly three decades. He has competed in all but two National Senior Games as well. “I am not the best of the best, but I sure do enjoy participating in all of these sports,” he remarked. “You have to work at it, but to be able to do this and meet so many others doing the same thing is all worth it.”
As always, Riker and NSGA PR staffer Del Moon enjoyed meeting many of the Wisconsin athletes at the pool, and also managed to catch up with shuffleboard and table tennis activity during the visit. Here’s some of the great folks we met:
64-year-old Gary Pinter shares how he found Senior Games in 2006, lost 50 pounds and has kept it off through swimming and triathlon. Gary is an eager ambassador for Wisconsin Senior Olympics and has been the subject of several newspaper and television stories.
First-time competitor Gloria Boileau was classy and pretty in purple at the 2016 Wisconsin Senior Olympics. Gloria entered several events and uplifted everyone with her enthusiasm and color.
Majan "Mario" Marcianiak (left) and Bob Fasciang schooled Marc and Del in a pickup game of shuffleboard after qualifying action had completed. Bob, who will be 90 when he goes to Birmingham next June, won national gold medals in Hampton Roads in 2003 and Pittsburgh in 2005.
We enjoyed watching two top table tennis players face off. Ladislav "Lasso" Sranko, left, took gold in mixed doubles and doubles play and added a silver in the 60-64 men's singles action at the 2015 National Senior Games presented by Humana held in Minnesota last year. Jacek "Jack" Odoner gave Lasso all he could handle. Both are major promoters with the Milwaukee Table Tennis Club. Play was fast-paced, and this shot was as close as we could get to freezing the ball in motion.
Steve "The Homer" True is a longtime sports media icon in Milwaukee who currently holds court with a regular talk show on ESPN 540 AM. This year he decided to dust off his paddle and jump into the action at the 2016 Wisconsin Senior Olympics. Homer still has some good moves. Not too shabby Steve!