BEND, Ore. - Don't be surprised next June if you're passed on a Bend trail by a lot of fast runners with muscular calves and a bit of gray hair.
At the National Senior Games Association annual meeting in Kissimmee, Fla. last week, Bend was chosen to host the Oregon Senior Games, starting June 2014. The event is expected to draw about 500 registered participants within the first year, plus an additional 250 support team members and spouses.
Prior to last week, Oregon was one of only two states that did not have an NSGA-sanctioned Senior Games.
Discussions between Visit Bend and NSGA began in 2009, and culminated with the NSGA awarding the event to Bend at the annual meeting this month.
"We're thrilled to have the opportunity to host the Oregon Senior Games in Bend," said Kevney Dugan, Visit Bend's director of sales and sports development.
"Bend is the ultimate outdoor playground, and this event is an excellent opportunity to showcase the city to a new group of athletes and recreation enthusiasts."
The Senior Games series is designed for athletes ages 50 and older, and encompasses a wide variety of sports, including archery, basketball, golf,
pickleball, road racing, swimming, triathlon, volleyball, and more. Host cities must offer 14 events from the list of accepted sports.
"We're still in the planning stages in determining which sports we'll host, which facilities we'll use, and which dates in June we'll select for the games," Dugan noted.
"Most likely we'll choose events that have proven most popular in other state Senior Games, and venues that will best showcase our city."
Because the Oregon Senior Games will be sanctioned by the NSGA, the top four finishers in most sports in each age group will qualify for the National Senior Games, as will competitors who meet minimum performance standards in applicable sports. For more information, visit http://nsga.com.
"Hosting the Oregon Senior Games is an important part of our long-term strategy to grow Bend's tourism industry," noted Visit Bend CEO Doug La Placa. "Large, well-established senior athletic events like the Huntsman World Senior Games in Utah or the National Senior Games can draw 11,000 to 13,000 people, respectively.
"While we don't expect that level of interest initially, we look forward to growing the Oregon Senior Games and broadening public interest in Bend as the ultimate recreation destination."
About Visit Bend:
Visit Bend is a non-membership, non-profit economic development organization dedicated to promoting tourism on behalf of the City of Bend. We're a leading provider of information on Bend, Oregon hotels, restaurants, activities, and Oregon vacation planning. To learn more or to order a complimentary Official Visitor Guide to Bend, contact Visit Bend at 1-800-949-6086 or visit www.visitbend.com.