Those who attended last night’s opening ceremony for the 2011 BC Seniors Games finally found out what all the secrecy was about, as the director of ceremonies waited until showtime to show off what had been pulled together.
Entertainment included acts from each city — Steps Dance Company from Trail, the Vision of Peace Youth Choir from Castlegar and the Rhythm Ropers of Nelson, who had the crowd ooh-ing and awe-ing with their antics.
The sun was shining, the air warm and the pipers played as the Royal Canadian Legion provided a colour party with RCMP to parade in with dignitaries, while athletes followed behind.
“It’s hard to believe that less than 11 months ago, we didn’t have our full board in place, we had no venues, no volunteers and at times I’m not sure what we knew what we were doing or what we were getting ourselves into — and now here we are opening the 24th BC Seniors Games,” said games co-chair Pat Metge.
Once the speeches were finished, Ida Chong, minister of community, sport and cultural development, lit the cauldron to officially open the Games.
“When I saw the smiling faces and spirit of competition today, I got the urge and may join you in the future,” said Trail Mayor Dieter Bogs, who went on to say that you’re never too old to begin or participate.
“This event is a culmination of work that we have done together as the three mayors … over the last number of years and we’ve had a terrific working relationship and we know that together we are able to accomplish almost any goal in the West Kootenay,” said Nelson Mayor John Dooley.
Everyone was quick to recognize the efforts of the volunteers, without whom there would be no Games.
“You are generously donating hours of valuable time to the Games and our communities and for this we thank you,” said Castlegar Mayor Lawrence Chernoff. “The dedication, passion and commitment the volunteers have demonstrated to organizing and hosting the 2011 BC Seniors Games truly reflects the spirit of all three host communities.”
As the three mayors finished their speeches, large beach balls with each city’s name were given to them. They booted them into the crowd, where they spent the remainder of the ceremony being bounced around concert style — a living embodiment to being young at heart.
Roger Kerby, a 79-year-old Nelson resident and badminton athlete, very much enjoyed this year’s opening ceremony.
“It was excellent, it was very good,” he said, adding it met all of his expectations — pretty good considering he has been to every BC Seniors Games.
“To the participants from the 12 zones throughout the province, these Games are about you — you are the Games and that is why we are here,” Metge concluded. “Enjoy your participation, the meeting of old friends, the making of new friends and the hospitality of Kootenays.”