Dec 29, 2015

Cody to host Wyoming Senior Olympics Winter Games in February

You may not consider yourself ready for a competition that has Olympics in the title. You also may not consider yourself a senior.

But if you're 50 or older and like to swim, run, ski or play pickleball, then you might enjoy competing in the Wyoming Senior Olympics.

Skiers compete in the Nordic Skiing 5K/10K Classic during the 2015 Wyoming Senior Olympics Winter Games. Photo courtesy Amy Quick
"You only have to be 50, and so maybe the word 'senior' needs to change — 'active adult' may be more appropriate," said Amy Quick, recreation coordinator with the City of Cody who is helping organize the upcoming winter games.

For the second year, Cody will host the Wyoming Senior Olympics Winter Games Feb. 18-21. While athletes will come from across the Cowboy State and beyond, those in Cody and the Big Horn Basin don't have to travel very far on wintry roads.

"You have the home field advantage," Quick said. "We definitely would love to have more local participation."

Even for those who aren't competitive, it's an enjoyable experience, she said.

"It's a lot of fun," Quick said. "We hope people come out to experience that, and we want to advocate for people to stay active and healthy."

Swimmer encourages others to participate
For Karen Swanson of Powell, the 2015 Wyoming Senior Olympics in Cody was the first time she swam competitively.

"I had never done any kind of swim meet before," she said. "I just swim for fitness. It's a little bit easier on the joints."

Swanson works at the Powell Aquatic Center, and last year she saw a flier advertising the Wyoming Senior Olympics. A coworker encouraged her to join, as did her daughter, Shayna, who swam for the University of Wyoming.

"So I said, 'Oh, what the heck? You only live once — let's go for it,'" Swanson said. "It was fun."

Swanson competed in the 50-yard freestyle, 100-yard freestyle, 50-yard backstroke and 50-yard sidestroke.

"I wanted to keep things short, because I didn't really know what to expect," Swanson said.

As she prepared, Swanson's daughter gave her some pointers.

"I had never been off starting blocks before," she said.

But, being fresh on the blocks didn’t hold Swanson back as she won all of her events.
"I did better than I thought I would," she said.

At 59 years old, Swanson competed in an age bracket with some swimmers in their 60s.

"I'm going to be 60 this next time, so I might get a little more competition," she said.

Swanson said the other athletes were really nice, and she described the competition as low-key.

"There were some who were really into it, and others who can't swim as well, but they were still there and trying," she said.

One swimmer with a disability had a hard time getting through the water, "but she did it," Swanson said. "That's kind of what it's all about."

As the February competition approaches, Swanson hopes to participate again. She has a sore shoulder — not from swimming, but from working around her place — so her progress has been slower than she had hoped.

Swanson encourages swimmers and other athletes from the area to participate in the upcoming Wyoming Senior Olympics. The fact that local athletes only have to drive to Cody — and not across the state — also is a selling point.

"You have to be 50 and over, but I know there are some older people who swim laps here," she said. "It would be nice if they came over (to the Olympics), just to experience something different."

Indoor events will take place at the Paul Stock Aquatic and Recreation Center, and snow events will be held at the Sleeping Giant Ski Area and Pahaska Tepee/Park County Nordic Ski Association trails.

Registration for the Feb. 18-21 winter games is open. For those who register by Jan. 31, the registration fee is $32, which includes one event. Each additional event is $7. On Feb. 1, the fee goes up to $40, and still $7 per additional event.

"We have a bunch of other fun social events going on, too," Quick said.

The schedule includes a screening of the film "Unbranded" on the evening of Feb. 18, which is free to athletes and $5 for guests.

On the evening of Feb. 19, athletes and guests can enjoy a private tour of the Draper Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West with appetizers, followed by a performance by Dan Miller's Cowboy Music Revue. It's a $45 value that only costs $10 for athletes and $15 for guests, Quick said.

A celebration and banquet takes place on Feb. 20 at the VFW Hall in Cody, $10 for athletes and $15 for guests.
The upcoming 2016 winter games are open to athletes 50 and older.
Photo courtesy Amy Quick

"We do hope people take advantage of these socials," Quick said. "That's also an opportunity to showcase our community and what all goes on here."

The Wyoming Senior Olympics brings in people from all over the region.

"We had people from Montana and as far away as Texas and certainly from around Wyoming," Quick said. "We're just very fortunate we live here, and to be able to share that with people."

She said the winter games are great for the community, businesses and local organizations.

The city of Cody is working with Sleeping Giant, the Park County Nordic Ski Association, the Senior Center, chamber and Park County Travel Council, Quick said.

"It's a really great event with amazing people," she said.

For more information about the events or to register, visit, call 307-527-3487 or 307-587-0400 or email


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