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Vintage athletes show their stuff

  • Burrell Wyle, 83, of Santa Rosa, will compete in archery at the Senior Games.

    (John Burgess/The Press Democrat)

Imagine a regional Olympic competition for the restless over-50 crowd and you have the Sonoma Wine Country Senior Games.

For the next seven days, around a thousand participants will be competing in sports ranging from basketball and soccer to track and field and volleyball.

A swimmer is flying in from Australia, along with women's soccer teams from Oregon and Washington, and a men's basketball team from Las Vegas. Filling out the lineup of non-traditional sports, competitors will go head to head in square-dancing, horseshoes, bocce ball and pickleball.

Sonoma Wine Country Senior Games 6.01.13

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Three years ago, when the Council on Aging created the games, "we were looking for a way to engage our healthier seniors and encourage seniors to stay active or to get active," says event director Amy Crabb.

The first year, 450 seniors signed up. Last year, 850 competed. Horseshoes and track and field are new sports introduced this year.

"It's fun because they have this energy and this enthusiasm about life that you don't see all the time," Crabb said.

Just as the games are getting under way, here's a look at two of the competitors — one a "master senior" in his 80s, the other a "young senior" in her late 50s — both pursuing a sport they fell in love with at an early age. In a sense, they've been training for this moment their entire lives:

The Runner: Maggie DeMaria, 58, Santa Rosa

Running up the steep Canyon Trail on the backside of Annadel State Park, Maggie DeMaria leans in to say, "Right now I feel nauseous and I feel tired, but I know I don't warm up until about 6 miles."


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