ARCADIA — Another successful Heartland Senior Games has concluded and plans are well underway for 2021. This year, 476 women and men from fifty to ninety three years of age signed up to compete in one or more of the events, winning a combined total of 611 medals.

The staff of the Corporate and Community Education Department of South Florida State College, led by Tina Gottus and Debbie Gutierrez with great support from Winnie Jarigue, Tammy Snow, Sari Crews and Fred Hayes, coordinated the 2020 Games, which attracted competitors from Arcadia, Sebring, Avon Park, Lake Placid, Wauchula, Zolfo Springs and beyond.

South Florida State College wishes to extend a special thank you to the venues that hosted this year's events; Tanglewood, Sebring G.C., Bowl of Fun Lanes, Cross Creek RV Resort, Sun n Lake, Avon Park H.S., Highlands County Family YMCA and the Thakkar Tennis Center.

For 2021 there are several changes planned. Billiards is going to be added to the roster, with Chuck Hall taking charge at the Sebring Moose Lodge. Euchre is going to be played at Crystal Lake Club in Avon Park, with Lynn and Tom Kestler overseeing play. Bridge players will be gathering at the Sun N Lake Community Center in Sebring, where Marg Strong will lead the way.

The line up for 2021 has pickleball at Tanglewood on Jan. 30-31 with all other events in February. Euchre is on the 2nd, billiards on the 3rd and golf at Sebring G.C. on the 6th.

Bowlers will meet at Bowl of Fun in Wauchula on the 8th and 15th, shufflers will be at the Sebring Recreation Club on the 10th and mah-jongg players will be travelling to Cross Creek RV Resort in Arcadia on the 12th. Once again, cyclists will be on the back roads of Sun N Lake on the 13th, while table-tennis players will be challenging one another on the 18th, and track stars performing at Avon Park H.S. on the 20th.

The 2021 Games will close out with a swim meet at the Highlands County YMCA on the 22nd, tennis at the Thakkar Tennis Center from the 23rd to the 25th and bridge on the 26th. Pinochle may also be added to the list of events for 2021.

Heartland Senior Games' summary

We are now preparing for next year by:

Reviewing the registration process, the fee structure and the sizing of women's shirts

Looking for volunteers

Seeking additional sponsors

Adding billiards, pinochle and a 5k power walk to the list of events as well as having two divisions in cycling (highly competitive and recreational).

How can you help?

Please pass the 2021 schedule along to others in your community.

Volunteer to be a community ambassador willing to spread the word in your community by having notices included in your newsletter, posting flyers and handing out information in the fall. We already have 30 ambassadors signed up for 2021 throughout DeSoto, Hardee, Highlands, Okeechobee and Polk Counties but need many more.

If you have good computer skills, you could assist with registration to make it easier for the less savvy computer users.

Volunteers are needed to make sure that calls about the Games are answered promptly. We are looking to have volunteer operators on duty from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in the run up to the Games.

We could also use help in sorting and distributing the Heartland Senior Games shirts.

If you know of any business that might like to be a sponsor, please let us know.

Four Star Homes has just signed on as a Bronze sponsor for 2021. Welcome aboard!

Advent Health is moving up from Silver to Gold sponsorship. Thank you so much!

Be sure to like us on Facebook.

If you could help on the computer or telephone, with shirts and sponsors or would like to make a donation, please send me an email: nsimp76@gmail.com.

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