Jean Rice, left, and Dennis Koelle celebrate after they both scored a hole-in-one on Wednesday while competing in a round of miniature golf at the San Juan
Jean Rice, left, and Dennis Koelle celebrate after they both scored a hole-in-one on Wednesday while competing in a round of miniature golf at the San Juan County Senior Olympics at Big Bounce in Farmington. (Megan Farmer / The Daily Times)

FARMINGTON — For many participants in the San Juan County Senior Olympics, the annual games are an opportunity for fun, rather than competition.

"I enjoy the camaraderie and the fun," said Ginger Fountain, who has taken part in the games since the 1980s and attended Wednesday's miniature golf competition. "I don't do a lot of the activities, but I enjoy this one. It's a fun one."

The Senior Olympics started Tuesday with a basketball free-throw challenge, and the games continue through May 16.

While for some Olympians the games have been an annual activity for years, others, like Millie Moore, attended the games for the first time this year. As she prepared to putt a ball at Wednesday's miniature golf event, she said she was doing "not too shabby for the first time."

"I don't think I've ever played miniature golf before," she said.

Some who participated in miniature golf played the sport when they were younger or continue to play golf. Larry Bomberger, the Bonnie Dallas Senior Center senior citizens administrator, said one person even asked him if he could bring his own golf clubs to Wednesday's event.

Bomberger said miniature golf is among the more popular events at the games, although it is not a state event.

The Senior Olympics are broken into local, state and national competitions. Athletes qualify for state events by placing in the top six in their age groups at the local games. The top three finishers in each age group at the state games qualify for the national games in July 2015 in Minnesota.

Locally, organizations can add events that aren't available at other levels. Bomberger said he started adding these additional events when a man who always participated in the Olympics got sick and couldn't take part in the traditional games. However, the man was an avid domino player and suggested adding dominoes. Since then, dominoes have been part of the games in San Juan County.

While there is a winner in each event, Bomberger said winning isn't what matters.

Ray Phelps, left, watches as Edna Clark takes a swing on Wednesday while competing in a round of miniature golf during the San Juan County Senior Olympics
Ray Phelps, left, watches as Edna Clark takes a swing on Wednesday while competing in a round of miniature golf during the San Juan County Senior Olympics at Big Bounce in Farmington. (Megan Farmer / The Daily Times)

"For the majority of people here, that's not first and foremost on their mind," he said.

Instead, he said, they enjoy an opportunity to get together with other area seniors. And many come back year after year, Bomberger said.

Bob and Harriet Foster have participated in about 10 Senior Olympics, but the couple was unable to play last year because of Bob Foster's cancer.

Bomberger said when he saw their names on the list this year, he was excited.

Harriet Foster said this was her husband's third bout of cancer. He has now gone through treatments for pancreatic cancer, lymphoma and skin cancer.

"I'm cancer free," Bob Foster said. "But I get kind of tired."

That tiredness didn't show, though, as he and his wife putted their way around the miniature golf course Wednesday.

"It's not only fellowship, but it's also fun, and we need to get out," Harriet Foster said.

Hannah Grover covers news, arts and religion for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 and hgrover@daily-times.com. Follow her @hmgrover on Twitter.