About 30 people gathered at Big Bounce/Teddy Connection, 3050 20th St., for the San Juan County Senior Olympics miniature golf tournament. Miniature golf was the second event in this year's Senior Olympics, which continues through May 1. An award picnic and relays are scheduled for May 3.
"It's a good sport," sad Pat Coleman, one of the Olympians, of miniature golf. "I love to do it."
The golf course offered 18 holes, and the Olympians were divided into seven groups.
"Remember, first and foremost you have to have a smile on your face 90 percent of the time," said Bonnie Dallas Senior Center administrator Larry Bomberger, as he explained the rules to the eager participants around him.
Georgia Brandenburg, one of the participants, hadn't played golf in about 40 years when her friends from Monday night bowling invited her to join the Senior Olympics. She said she enjoys the event because it gives her a chance to see all her friends.
Omega Gonzalez, the recreation program coordinator, said the senior center and events like the Senior Olympics are important because they provide people a support system.
"Everyone takes care of people," Gonzalez said.
Some events, like bowling and badminton, offer opportunities for the contestants to compete at higher state and national levels, Bomberger said. Usually, about 15 to 20 Olympians continue to state competitions, although many more qualify. Bomberger said the distance sometimes deters people from continuing on. This year's state competition will be in June in Roswell.
While miniature golf does not offer a state competition, participants requested it, Bomberger said.
Anyone is 50 or turns 50 during the 2013 calendar year is eligible to participate in the Senior Olympics.
Hannah Grover can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 505-564-4652. Follow her on Twitter @hmgrover