The Senior Olympics 2003

The National Senior Games
May 26th through June 30th

The Horseshoe Pitching Venue Review
By Kevin Snelgrove

Over 13,000 participants overall in the Hampton Roads area! All kinds of events – javelin, bike riding, archery, volleyball, softball, etc… HORSESHOE pitching… More than 300 pitchers had signed up for a one week horseshoe event! 

My wife Pat & I met up with Al Sandham, Competition Manager for the Games, and his wife Iris on Saturday which was a planned sanctioned event. Sunday was a practice day for the Senior Olympics. It gave us time to meet up with Earl & Pat Waggy, Al’s assistants, and discuss plans for the week’s coming events. By the end of Sunday, all was set, we went to our rooms anticipating Monday’s start. 

Monday morning, 7:30am was sign up time for the first flights of pitchers. Pat & I arrived at the courts right on time, only to find an ambulance already there ahead of us. The horseshoe pitching event had gotten off to a rocky start. Iris had fallen and hit her head. She was taken to the hospital, while the rest of us tried to hold down the fort. Al, knowing she was in good hands, and the man in charge of the event, made the tough decision to stay and get the tournament running. 

Amidst all of the confusion, pitchers were lining up to check in. A little behind schedule, by 8:15, all the courts were full. Monday’s competition was loaded, full courts all day - preliminary rounds in advance of the finals that would decide the winners – gold, silver, bronze. The final rounds for these age brackets would be held on Tuesday. Midmorning, Al managed to get away to the hospital and catch up with Iris and the doctors. It was a brutal day, full of manual paperwork processes and tallying results.

Tuesday morning started off a lot more smoothly. Having gotten familiar with the game formats and tally methods, overnight, I developed a computer program to ease the paperwork processes a bit. By Tuesday afternoon, I had most of the bugs worked out, and that smoothed things out immensely.

Tuesday afternoon, another scare, when Ben Robinson (VA pitcher), felt badly after pitching several games.  The ambulance was called and he was taken to the hospital. While the local hospitals have a stellar reputation for quality care, we all empathized with his wife Pat, there in a strange city, with none of her family nearby. We kept close contact and visited as the week went on.

Wednesday morning, we got a pleasant surprise – Iris had been released from the hospital the night before, and was there to greet us! Wednesday’s schedule was light, and the morning was filled with finals, which was a relief from the hectic pace. On Thursday morning, we kicked back into preliminary rounds, for another jam packed day, with finals scheduled for Friday. On Thursday, late in the day, we had two rain delays due to severe thunderstorms. It was reported that 1 ½ inches fell nearby in the 30 minutes we took cover. Thank heavens we didn’t get any of the 1 inch hail that fell ½ mile down the road! 

After the rain storms, it took about 45 minutes for the ground to clean up – puddles everywhere!! The Chesapeake Horseshoe Club members repaired some of the damage by digging out a couple of the pits, and hauling in new dry sand – within an hour the games were back up and running!

Friday morning sign up went smooth, with only “finals” pitch offs scheduled, and no pitching scheduled for the afternoon. This being the end of the tournament, the afternoon was left open for rain delay overruns. Thank goodness we didn’t need the space on the schedule or the time allotted. 

Out of the 43 medals awarded for horseshoes, five Virginians did bring home medals:  Gold for Patricia Blackmon (60 to 64 F) and Adele Inks (90 to 94F); Silver for Catherine McKenzie (90 to 94F); and Bronze for Helen Nixon (80 to 89 F) and John Garcia (55 to 59 M). 

Congratulations to Al Sandham for coordinating this wonderful event despite the personal hardships. It was a delight working with the both the Waggy’s and the Sandham’s. 

A special thanks to Tracey, the medical technician, who was on duty all week for the event. She offered superb care for those pitchers that needed it, and filled in at the desk when her medical skills weren’t needed.   Thanks to the Chesapeake Horseshoe Club and the Parks and Recreation Department employees and all of the volunteers that showed up or signed up as needed. 

Pat & I took many photos during the week, and put names on the ones we know. If you see a photo and want to update the person’s name, drop me a note with the file name (ie:MVC-1100) and I’ll post it with the photo. 

Mondays Photos
Tuesdays Photos
Wednesdays Photos
Thursday Photos
Fridays Photos

The view the 2003 Senior Olympic Results! Click here. and visit the web site.

The National Senior Games will be held in Pittsburg Pa, in 2005, Hope to see you there!!


Ps. Since the Games, we’ve had updates on both Iris and Ben.   Iris, who was found to have an irregular heart beat, had a pacemaker implanted, and is home doing fine.  Ben was found to have some partially blocked arteries, and is undergoing treatment. We wish them both many more years of good health and enjoyable pitching! 

Return to News and Updates

Monday May 26, 2003
The Senior Olyimpics 2003
Photos by Kevin, Pat and Tracey
Please help me identify the Class and Person
send the  web master an a note with the file number and I will correct the page 
Clicking on the picture will take you to a new page,
clicking on the filename will open a new browser window.
-Getting things up and running.
-Pat Waggy and Kevin Snelgrove signing in contestants and volunteers
-Al Sandham Horseshoe Competition Manager fine tuning his thoughts!
-Pat Waggy
-The Household sponsor banner
-Janet Dunn, Chesapeake Horseshoe Club Volunteer