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Valley Hosts Successful Manitoba 55+ Games


Hundreds of guests from across the province visited the Valley last week when Swan River hosted the 2019 Manitoba 55+ Games presented by Play Now from Tuesday to Thursday (June 11-13).
Approximately 310 participants took part in the many games and activities that were available at the various venues around town, whether it be pickleball and floor shuffleboard at the Swan River Community Centre, horseshoes at Swan River Legion Park or Scrabble and darts at the Royal Canadian Legion Br. 39.
“Everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves,” said Host Committee Chair Murray Mullin. “(The visitors) thought the games were very well organized and they had such a good time that I think it couldn’t have gone any better.”
Mullin added that he had hoped that more participants would have signed up, but those that did come proved themselves to be tremendous athletes.
“I was amazed at some of the ages (that participated) and they’re still very good athletes,” he said, mentioning the noteworthy 80-year-old runner and swimmer who still competes, as well as a 97 year old cribbage player.
“That’s what these games are all about. Everyone likes to get a medal, but it’s the competition, the friendship, the fellowship and the sportsmanship.”
Mullin expressed his appreciation for the close to 100 volunteers that stepped up to make the Games a success.
“We had comments from one lady that had been to eight Manitoba Society of Seniors Games before and told us that these were the best and most organized games,” he said. “When you hear those things, it makes it all worthwhile.”
In addition to the strong participation during the games themselves, Mullin added that there was strong attendance during the evening events held throughout the week as well, with approximately 160 attending the Monday Steak Night, more than 280 for Tuesday’s variety night and 330 for the Wednesday’s athletes’ banquet.
“Hotels were full, the restaurants were used and I hope all the businesses got a little extra revenue from it,” said Mullin. “Any profits that we make stay in the Valley and go towards the 55 plus area.”
Swan River already has a visible lasting legacy from the games, with two horseshoe pits being built in Swan River Legion Park that will stay for others to use, as well pickleball nets that were purchased for use in the Swan River Community Centre.
“There will be some pickleball clinics where you can go play during the summer until the curling season starts,” said Mullin, noting that there will only be a couple of brief times during the off-season where the nets won’t be available.
Mullin estimates that out of the total number of participants, about 10-20 percent may have been from the Swan Valley. Local results were not available at press time.

Jeremy Bergen