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Local seniors prepare for 55-plus provincial championships

A cohort of athletes from Rocky View County will compete at the 2019 55-plus Alberta Summer Games July 4 to 7 in Medicine Hat, after performing well at qualifying tournaments throughout the month of May.

More than a dozen members of the Big Country Senior Sports Society (BCSSS), which includes athletes from Bearspaw, Cochrane, Bragg Creek and Springbank, will compete in various sports at the provincial games, including bocce ball, 8-ball pool, golf, cycling, floor shuffleboard, cycling and slo-pitch.

BCSSS athlete Doug Campbell said the group is looking forward to the experience, and expects many to be competitive in their respective sports.

“We won nationals in lawn bowling last year, in New Brunswick, and we had a grand total of two years’ experience going into it,” he said. “In the round robin, we finished second, but we were lucky in the gold medal match to beat the national champions from New Brunswick. We also beat the multi-time provincial champions from B.C.

“You need some level of skill at these games, but you also need luck.”

In 8-ball pool, Cochrane’s Nancy Gibbie and Bill Gibbons will represent BCSSS ­– also referred to as Zone 2 ­– in the 70-plus category.

On the greens, Karl Gibbie will hit the links in the 85-plus men’s golf tournament, while Frank Hutchins will compete in the 65-plus tournament. Nick Radmanovich qualified as the zone’s lone golfer in the 75-plus category. All three live in Cochrane.

Another sport that will see plenty of Cochrane representation in Medicine Hat is floor shuffleboard. According to Campbell, he, Roswitha Schmitt-Blouin and Dan Stuehrenberg will vie for provincial medals.

But while making the podium is the goal, Campbell said, there are other priorities.

“At any event like this, everyone has the potential to medal, but our primary purpose is participation, fellowship, mental, social and physical interaction,” he said. “If you win a medal, that’s a nice bonus and something you can show off to your grandchildren.”

Bragg Creek’s Clint Docken will represent RVC in the 55-plus men’s cycling event.

In bocce ball, Zone 2 sent four teams to the provincial qualifying tournament May 29 in Cochrane. Two qualified for provincials, including a 55-plus team and a 70-plus team.

“We had four teams, and we have a big zone, so we’d always like to have more, but we had players from Cremona, Sundre and Cochrane,” Campbell said. “Two of the players were from Gleichen.”

The slo-pitch qualifier was held May 29 in Indus. Campbell said many Zone 2 members will compete on a 65-plus slo-pitch team at provincials, including Pat Drinnan of Bearspaw, Dan Muhlbach and Darrel Tetz of Cochrane, Chris Mann of Airdrie, Max Huntley of Lyalta, Brian Aris of Langdon and Bruce Pennock of Chestermere.

On the 70-plus slo-pitch team, Campbell said, Radmanovich and Ralph Gardeski, both from Cochrane, will represent the county, along with Chestermere’s Rick Bell and Larry Fraser.

The 2019 55-plus Alberta Summer Games will see approximately 1,000 participants competing in 15 different sports.

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