Anyone who knows District I Fitness Coordinator Jim Ingle will tell you he’s passionate about the Senior Games.
Jim, who turns 70 this year (but doesn’t look it), will compete in the 50, 100, and 200-meter dash at the Senior Games Minnesota in St. Cloud August 1-4.
But this year, he has another goal beyond a top-8 finish: Jim wants to bring 100 Native Elders, including Mille Lacs Band members, to the event. (For the Senior Games, anyone over 50 qualifies.)
The idea came to Jim when he was at the National Senior Games in Minneapolis several years ago. “There was a group of Native Americans absolutely having the best time, hooting and hollering and cheering their team on,“ Jim recalled.
He asked where they were from, and they said they were a contingent of Native Elders from New Mexico. “I thought, ‘This is something we need to do to get our Native Elders active,’“ Jim said.
To drum up interest in the Senior Games, Jim and Diane Grooms, a Senior Games participant from the Twin Cities, are organizing a Minnesota Native Elder Games Day at the American Indian Center in Minneapolis giving Native seniors a chance to try out some of the events.
Last year, a team of eight Elders from the Minneapolis Native community competed at the Senior Games Minnesota in Mankato on August 16-19. The team brought home eight gold medals, two silver, and two bronze, qualifying each team member for the Nationals in Albuquerque June 14-25 of this year.
The Team was sponsored by the Metropolitan Urban Indian Directors, Bald Eagle Erectors, Loeffler Construction, Absolute Commercial Flooring, David Alban, Phil and Becky Alban, Carol Thies, Tiffany Hand, and Jim Ingle.
The Minnesota Council on Aging has agreed to send the eight Elders to Albuquerque, thanks in part to Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin, who is on the Board of Directors.
Jim is hopeful that funding will come together to help pay for the Native Elders team to compete at the Senior Games Minnesota.
Minnesota Senior Games August 1-4
The Senior Games Minnesota will be held in St. Cloud August 1-4.
Events include archery, badminton, 3-on-3 basketball, bowling, cycling, golf, horseshoes, pickleball, walking, racquetball, running, shuffleboard, softball, swimming, tennis, table tennis, track & field, and volleyball.
RSVP at www.mnseniorgames.com or stop and see Jim at the District I Community Center.
Anyone over 50 can participate!