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Over 400 people in Valley for statewide competition

VALLEY — The Valley Community Center has been a very busy place this week, as the 2018 State Masters Games have been taking place there. This is the 28th year they’ve taken place and the third time they’ve been in Valley for a two-year cycle. More than 400 people in the 50-and-older age group are here to take part. They are from all across the state and are enjoying the opportunity to compete and win medals in a number of events. The main enjoyment, though, is the chance to be part of a big event, to renew old friendships and to make new ones.

Sandi Wilson, president of the Masters Games of Alabama, said that the Community Center is an excellent venue for the state games.

“It’s very nice here,” she said. “It’s helpful to us to have all the events but one (bowling) at one location. We have to travel to Auburn for the bowling event. We’re looking forward to being back in Valley for next year’s games.”

This year’s games have a Halloween theme: “A Good Time is Brewing in Valley.” It was ever-present on the t-shirts worn at Wednesday night’s Halloween party at the Community Center. Most of those t-shirts had medals draped over them. Everyone present at the state games had medals from winning first, second or third-place at a district event. Many seniors have added to their collection with new medals from the 2018 state games.

This year’s opening ceremony took place at 4 p.m. EDT on Monday with a parade of athletes inside the Community Room. The event was emceed by Gator Kincaid with remarks from Valley Mayor Leonard Riley, Alabama Commissioner of Senior Services Ted Cotton, and Sandi Wilson. Valley cit council member and Masters Games participant Jimmy Gilson delivered the invocation, followed by the flag presentations by Boy Scout Troop No. 9, Valley and the singing of the National Anthem by Charles Story.

The athletes then spoke the following oath: “We promise that we will take part in these Masters Games of Alabama, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them, in the true spirit of sportsmanship for the glory of the sport and the honor of the state of Alabama.”

“As mayor of the City of Valley, I am excited to welcome you to the 2018 State Masters Games,” said Mayor Riley. “May of these events will be held in our newly-renovated Valley Community Center that includes the new Valley Senior Center, which opened in May. We are extremely proud of this new facility for our seniors to use and enjoy. We are happy to have you here in Valley and hope your stay here will be memorable and enjoyable. Welcome to our city and good luck in the 2018 State Masters Games of Alabama,”

In an event remindful of the Olympic Games, torchbearer Roger McDonald lighted the flame of hope to officially begin the games.

Monday’s events included golf singles at the Point University golf course, softball throw, and basketball free throw.

Tuesday’s events included a fun walk, a two-man scramble in golf, a nerf/frisbee throw, rook, horseshoes, shuffleboard, checkers, followed by a 7 p.m. EDT awards banquet and dinner.

Scheduled for Thursday were a 5k run, bowling at the AMF Auburn Lanes, swimming and dominoes doubles.