By Tamas Mondovics

For more than three decades, area senior residents have had a chance to go for the gold by taking part in the Annual Tampa Bay Senior Games.

Preparations for the 32nd Annual Tampa Bay Senior Games are underway as hundreds of Hillsborough County residents, ages 50 and up, once again expected to measure up their strength, skills and talents in a healthy competition during the Olympics–like event.

The event is hosted by the Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation and Conservation Department, (PRC), Hillsborough County Family and Aging Services, City of Tampa Recreation Department, and Temple Terrace Leisure Services and is scheduled for October 1-12, with registration open until Friday, September 21.

According to Joe Soletti, of the Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation and Conservation Department, the games will feature two weeks of competition in various activities, such as basketball, billiards, bowling, cribbage, dominoes, golf, hobby show, pickleball, pinochle, swimming, table tennis, talent showcase, tennis and track and field.

Soletti said that while the majority of the games have been on the roster for the past 30 years, new ones are sometimes added to the list.

“This year we will have a couple of new events added including softball and corn hole,” Soletti said.

Emphasizing the desire to participate Soletti was proud to mention that last year’s oldest contestant was 96 years young and the youngest was 50.

Entry fee is only $20 and includes unlimited participation in the games, a ticket to the awards luncheon, opening ceremony continental breakfast, and t-shirt.

The golf event costs an additional $20 and power lifting is an additional $5. The Award Banquet for non-participants is $10.

The games also give participants qualifying credits to attend the upcoming Florida Senior Games State Championships scheduled for later this year, which are considered one of the biggest the county has each year. It is where the various county organizations combine their efforts and show their senior residents how much they are appreciated.

For the registration form, event schedule and event locations, visit the Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation and Conservation Department Website or call Soletti at 744-5871.

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Kelly Wise Valdes has been writing for the Osprey Observer since 2008. She graduated in 1989 from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in Communications and enjoys writing and traveling. She currently resides in northern Hillsborough County with her husband, David. When not traveling and writing, Kelly and her husband enjoy spending time with their five grown children (as well as their grandchildren) that still keep them very busy.