While some oldsters on the Hip Strip were still complaining about sharing space with other members or with the community, scores of active, enthusiastic adults were in Butte for the 23rd annual Montana Olympic Senior Summer Games.
Senior participants range in age from 50 and older. The games offer a variety of 18 sports.
Local participants entered a variety of events and there were a number of medal winners.
Missoulians were especially proud of their own Jim Curran. He was presented the annual state trophy, an outstanding honor, given each year to a person who has continued to participate in spite of physical problems or the passing of years.
Jim, 88, is a lifelong runner. Although his sight is dimming because of macular degeneration, he keeps racing. His interest began when he was a youngster at Missoula County High School more than 70 years ago. His specialties then were the half-mile and the mile.
Now in his golden n or perhaps diamond age n he confines his racing competition to the 60, 100 and 200.
He has competed in Montana's State Olympics for a dozen years, always winning gold. He also entered the national meets several times,
winning fourth and fifth. "Competition is tougher at national meets with former World Olympians participating," he said.
Last week Jim brought home three golds from Butte.
He said he has cut back on the number of races he enters as the years pass. To keep in good condition between meets Jim walks for recreation. He has been in the Missoula River Run for the past 15 years. He plans to compete in the National Olympics next year in California.
Jim has also been a valuable asset and volunteer when the State Olympics have been in Missoula a couple of times.
Other Garden City medal winners, (or, at least the ones I have heard about):
Bowling: Al Geesy, gold in men's singles and silver with partner Georgia Kelmer in mixed doubles.
George Michel, (another top bowler as well as artist), gold in men's singles.
Ted Nyquest, two golds in basketball competition.
Dick Moore, three golds in golf.
Besides courteous, yet keen, competition in the Olympic events, another valuable asset is meeting friendly folks from throughout Montana and other states.
A chance encounter with champion golfer, Helen (Walterskirchen) Newmunz, a native Missoulian whose home is now far away in another state. She summers in Bigfork. Besides receiving numerous medals at state levels, she has won several at national meets.
She attended schools in Missoula, majored in art at the university and joined the WAVES. Later, returned to study law. Helen won gold at the Butte meet.
As for me? I got all wet in the Y pool and picked up a gold and silver.
Speaking of awards: Gold star of the week to Scot Anderson for 30 years of dedicated work as director of the Head Start program.
Evelyn King is a retired Missoulian reporter. Her column appears every Sunday in the Territory section. Reach her by writing Evelyn King, Missoulian, P.O. Box 8029, Missoula, MT 59807.