“My high school didn’t have such things,” said Rhodes, 68, a Mustang resident who teaches special education in the Western Heights school district.
Now, she and about 140 other seniors age 50 and over will compete in the 13th Annual Yukon Senior Games, an Olympic-style sports event that promotes healthy lifestyles through fitness, sports and athletic competition.
Hosted by the Yukon Parks and Recreation Department, the event is April 5-12 at various sites with an opening gala set for 5 p.m. April 4 at the Robertson Activity Center, 1200 Lakeshore Drive, in Yukon.
“We’ll host athletes from Arkansas, Texas and Kansas, as well as all over the state of Oklahoma,” said event organizer and founder Tim Rhodes, Barb’s son who is a facilities supervisor for the Yukon Community Center.
It has become a family affair for the mother and son, who also compete side by side at the Sooner State Games.
“It’s fun to go out together and do that,” Barb Rhodes said.
As the population ages, demand has risen, and the event grows each year, Tim Rhodes said. He brought the idea to Yukon after volunteering during the 1994 Oklahoma City Senior Games.
“I was hooked,” he said.
Participants compete in one of nine age brackets, and medals will be awarded to the top three finishers in each age category. Events include archery, basketball, bowling, golf, horseshoes, pickleball, billiards, track and field games, washer pitching and weightlifting.
Barb Rhodes throws the shot put, discus and javelin and runs the 100- and 200-meter dash.
“I just enjoy getting out there, meeting people and trying to do a little better each time,” she said.
Barb Rhodes also competes each October in the Oklahoma Senior Games. In all, 49 U.S. states host senior games, and the 2013 National Senior Games in Cleveland hosted 10,800 athletes. This year’s state games in Tulsa will be a qualifier for the 2015 National Senior Games in Minneapolis.
“It’s a huge event to be so little known,” Tim Rhodes said.
Yukon Senior Games
Registration is $25 for up to four events. Additional events are $2 each. Track and field participants are limited to six events within that sport. Registration deadline is March 28.
For those who prefer the arts to athletics, a creative arts contests includes creative writing and photography. Registration is $5 for the first entry and $3 for each additional entry. Participants are limited to only one entry per category. For registration forms and more information, visit cityofyukonok.gov or call 354-8442.