The 2011 National Senior Games provided participants the means to compete and socialize in Houston, and two local seniors even captured some hardware.
Carol Remley, 73, a 28-year Charlotte resident, brought home a gold medal in archery, having competed against more than 300 other archers at the games in late June..
"It's really awesome to see so many older people who are doing these things," said Remley, who lives in the Pine Island area in northwest Charlotte. "Some look like they're in better shape than others, but still in all they're out there, they're competing, and that's what the Senior Games program is.
"It's all about health, recreation, wellness, staying active."
Dan Nunn, 58, a 35-year Charlotte resident who lives in South Park, won a gold medal in racquetball.
He said he uses the sport as his social outlet.
"I find that the racquetball group is a network, at least on the national level, where the sportsmanship and the camaraderie is very special," he said. "That's just a testimony to the quality of people that are in this niche sport."
Remley competed in the 70-74 age group. She said she's never been athletic or competitive, so competing in the Senior Games was exciting for her.
"My kids get a big kick out of this," said Remley. "I said, 'Well, I never played sports. I always watched you guys play, and I watched (husband) Ken play, but I never did anything like this, so I'm having a blast.' "
The Remleys decided to drive two and a half days to Houston rather than fly, because traveling with bows made flying more trouble than it was worth.
"One of us doesn't have a break-down bow, so I just didn't trust the airlines with that," Remley said. "We just put everything in the car and went down there."
Nunn won his medal for the 55-59 age group. He competes in a national tournament once every two or three years, and he went to the 2011 Senior Games looking to win.
"I'm glad I pulled it off, " Nunn said of his victory. "It was very satisfying."
Though the Senior Games has a state tournament every year, the national tournament is every other year. Nunn said he'll probably sit out the 2013 Senior Games in Cleveland.
Remley, however, said she's looking forward to competing in 2013 again, where she'll move up to the next age group.
"I'll be the baby in the 75-79 age group," she said. "I'll be one of the younger ones. "