Thursday, March 21, 2019
Text Size

20190102 GAO Bicycle Tour Herb DSC 0273Celebrating its 39th annual Golden Age Olympics, the city of McAllen invites anyone aged 50 and up to compete in a series of events that offer everything from bowling to bake-offs. The GAO started in 1983 with just three events. Today they offer approximately 30 different competitions.

The games, which run from Jan. 7 to Feb. 28, reflect the interests of the Rio Grande Valley’s growing Winter Texan community. “We have events all across the board, anything from card games, Poker, Cribbage, Hearts, to swimming,” explains Stephanie Valdez, who has been in charge of the Golden Age Olympics for the past two years.

With 1,729 individual participants registered in last year’s events and 4,406 people involved in its competitions, attendance for these winter games is impressive and, according to Valdez, always growing.

20190102 GAO Petanque Herb DSC 0242Valdez stresses that since the activities cover everything from birdwatching to shuffleboard, anyone, whether “mobile or not,” can definitely join in the fairs and festivities.

The games, which take place in parks and venues across the city, can be as educational as they are entertaining.

Valdez singles out “The Great Chase” as an example of an event that serves to introduce Valley visitors to the charms of the City of Palms. In the scavenger hunt-like game, teams made up of two men and two women are given clues that take them all around McAllen as they race to snap shots of the city. When they are done, “we go through all of their pictures to make sure that they have gone to the correct location and then they will get a medal as a team.” Participants enjoy “getting to learn the city a little more as they are driving through.”

The Bike Tour, which has three hundred registrants a year, serves as a recreational way to learn about the famous bird-life of the Valley. Participants in the tour bring their own bikes then form riding groups that travel around the path at Bentsen State Park and in the process, “they’ll actually get to experience some of the birds there and nature.”

Aside from the Bike Tour there is a team event called the “Bird-a-Thon” which is held at the McAllen Nature Center. Participants are given a piece of paper and asked to seek out and identify the birds on the list. “There are trails in the McAllen Nature Center and the team will go ahead and walk along the trails and describe what they’ve seen,” explains Valdez.

20190102 GAO Petanque Herb DSC 0243As McAllen’s Parks and Recreation Department is always looking for ways to improve its Golden Age Olympics, competitors are encouraged to voice their ideas and concerns at a wrap-up meeting that takes place a week after the awards ceremonies. “So that if there were any issues or they wanted to try something new, then we invite them to come sit with us at the table. We discuss any issues and we are always listening to our guests,” explains Valdez. Input from Canadian Winter Texans and visitors from Wisconsin has led to the introduction of the game of petanque and to some serious discussion regarding the amount of chips passed out during the poker tournaments.

Participants in past events, which run the gamut from horseshoes to sudoku, have expressed gratitude over the Golden Age games. “They really do love it; it keeps them active and this is something that they get to experience not only as an individual,” says Valdez, who is heartened by the positive responses to the events as well as the enthusiasm of the competitors.

“There are so many different participants with so many different views,” she says, adding, “and you get to see them returning and get to see them really excited because they have been practicing all year round for their billiards tournament or their shuffleboard tournament and they’re ready to win gold.”

Entry Fee
First event : $7 per person
All events thereafter: $5

Some events may require additional fees. Register at the Las Palmas Community Center at 1921 N. 25th, Lark Community Center at 2601 Lark, or Palm View Community Center at 3401 Jordan, in McAllen. Registration must be received one week prior to each event unless noted. Contact McAllen Parks and Rec at 956-681-3333 for full registration details.

For more information or to register online visit:

Top News

  • Museum exhibit features Mexican dresses

    20190320 MHM Sister City Chinelos Costume courtesySpecial to Winter Texan Times

    A new exhibit opens this week at Mission Historical Museum. The special exhibit, “The Traditions and Culture of Mexican Textiles & Designs,” incorporates seven beautiful Mexican dresses, each representing a different region in Mexico. The dresses are part of a cultural exchange… Read More +

  • Paradise Park Quilters honor veterans

    20190320 Veterans Quilts Paradise Park DSC02286In honor of the veterans of Paradise Park in McAllen, the Paradise Quilters hosted a veterans’ quilt presentation on January 26. Fifteen quilts were presented to veterans in the park during a program that included a dedication thank you poem by Barb and Greg Foster, singing of “God Bless America” by Ginger Engels accompanied… Read More +

  • Harlingen Flower Show marks 50th anniversary

    HARLINGEN–The Harlingen Flower Show has been showcasing beauty for 50 years with an annual show open to the public.
    March 23 and 24 is the weekend for this year’s show which will be at the Harlingen Cultural Arts Center, 576 ’76 Drive, next to the Harlingen Public Library.

    Exceptional horticulture specimens will be judged and… Read More +

  • Bentsen Grove Resort Line Dancers Hold Marathon

    20190320 Bentsen Grove Dance A Thon PeggyCreach 1403Line Dancers at Bentsen Grove Resort recently held a charity marathon to benefit the Cinderella Pet Rescue located in Palmview.

    Intermediate and advanced dancers took to the floor at 9 a.m. under the direction of their instructor, Mary Lou Lane. They were quickly joined by beginning… Read More +

  • Canada vs USA All-Star games close out season

    20190320 Baseball IMG 4065League Commissioner Ed Martens retires – maybe

    It was only fitting that the sun came out at Westside Park during the annual Senior Texan Softball All-Star Games.

    Not only did it shine, but it seemed to shine even a little brighter around Ed Martens.… Read More +

  • McAllen Wind Ensemble season finale is March 29

    20190320 McAlen Wind Ensemble Francisco RocafuerteConcert features pianist Francisco Rocafuerte

    The McAllen Wind Ensemble’s season finale, “A Gatsby Gala,” will be a celebration of music from the Roaring ‘20s. Under the baton of director Roger Olivarez, the band will perform the music of Gershwin, Holst, Grainger, Cole Porter, and more. This concert will… Read More +

  • Spittin’ Image combines comedy and music for great entertainment

    20190320 Spittin Image IMG 4566Ron Kriesel had no clue what was about to happen.

    Sitting in the back row against the wall in McAllen Mobile Park's dance hall, Kriesel was picked out by identical twins Blain and Brian Swabb, known as “Spittin' Image,” and brought on stage along with two other “volunteers” to… Read More +

  • Monarch Festival at Quinta Mazatlan

    20190320 Monarch IMG 4693Carmen and Tim Connaughty had been driving past Quinta Mazatlan, located at 600 Sunset Dr. in McAllen, but never knew what it was.

    “We would drive to the market or to the mall and see it. I mean, we knew it was there – you can’t miss it,” Tim said.… Read More +

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • All
  • Border
  • Charity
  • Free Health Care
  • Groceries
  • Grocery Stores
  • HEB
  • Immigration
  • Mission
  • Operation Lonestar
  • Ribbon Cutting
  • Safety
  • Security
  • Sharyland
  • Default
  • Title
  • Date
  • Random
load more hold SHIFT key to load all load all