Driving up to the Kitsap County Horseshoe Club’s home court at the Kitsap Fairgrounds was the unmistakable sharp clang of a horseshoe hitting the metal post.
But what occurred more often was the sound of laughter and good-natured ribbing as new friendships formed under the banner of competition at the annual Bremerton West Sound Senior Games.
The games returned for a week in and around Bremerton. From horseshoes, bowling, mini-golf and a hotshot basketball contest to the 5k run/walk, swimming, a cycling time trial and track and field events there’s something for everyone 50 and over. Organizers added one new event to the schedule this year, trivia multi-choice, which will be at Arena Bar & Grill in Bremerton at 6 p.m. Saturday.
Rex Tauscher, a member of the Kitsap County Horseshoe Club and past treasurer, said the event is a fun one because it does draw new people to the sport. Tauscher, who has been pitching horseshoes for 18 years, said the rules are pretty simple and easy for anyone to learn. Throwing or “pitching” a horseshoe is similar to bowling. The shoe weighs in at 2.4 pounds and yes, ringers, when the horseshoe makes contact with the metal post 30-40 feet away and rings around the post, can illicit shouts of joy.
It’s a great family activity and with two horseshoe courts in the county, there’s access for anyone who has interest.
Sherron Peterson has been participating in the Senior Games for many years and looks forward to the event each and every time.
“I’m just sports-minded,” she said, “I played soccer for 25 years and I really like being outside.”
On Thursday, Peterson’s playing partner was friend Judy Ghrist, also a longtime Senior Games participant.
“I just love the Senior Games,” she said. “You meet new people. It’s just fun.”
Newcomer Michelle Herrera, who only happened upon the Senior Games while looking for something fun to do at the Fairgrounds, already competed in Wednesday’s 5K and bowling, tried horseshoes for the first time and was likely talked into competing in Saturday’s disc golf at NAD Park in Bremerton. She plays disc golf on her Wii at home and admits she’s pretty good.
“It’s all fun, I love it,” Herrera said. “These people are so cool. I’ll be back next year.”
Herrera’s friend Nanci Roberts agreed. Roberts, who enjoys hiking, competed in the track relay and pole vaulting in her younger days.
“We came out and did the 5K and bowling, it’s so much fun,” she said. “I just like being around people who are active and are happy.”
Having fun is an essential part of playing horseshoes and Carol and Art Sperber, who have won various class and each a national championship in the sport, have been longtime advocates from Kitsap.
Carol Sperber said it’s great to see new people try the sport and see how quickly they can pick up the game and become excited about playing.
The Kitsap County Horseshoe Pitchers’ Club drop-in spring and summer league meets in Port Orchard at South Kitsap Regional Parks’ Clark Courts Tuesdays at 6 p.m. and at 6 p.m. Thursdays at the Fairgrounds at the courts next to the swine barn. Membership is $10 and nightly fees are $2 with $2 going to High Game pot.
For more information contact league directors Art Sperber at 360-692-9315 or Bonnie Lewis at 360-876-1055.
Bremerton’s West Sound Senior Games
Pickleball — 9 a.m. at Sheridan Park Community Center, 680 Lebo Blvd., Bremerton.
Swimming — 5-8 p.m. Olympic Aquatic Center, 7070 Stampede Blvd., Bremerton
Ping pong — 10 a.m., Bremerton Senior Center, 1140 Nipsic Ave., Bremerton
Trivia muli-choice — 6 p.m., Arena Sports Bar & Grill, 4111 Wheaton Way, Bremerton
Track and Field — 10 a.m., Bremerton Memorial Stadium, 1500 13th St., Bremerton
Disc golf — 1 p.m., NAD Park, Kitsap Lake, Bremerton