Getting nervous before going on stage isn’t just for kids. Neither is enjoying well-earned applause or earning a medal for being the best. No matter your age, sharing your talents is just plain fun.
Their slogan is, “You don’t stop playing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop playing.” This spring, the Doña Ana County Senior Olympics provide numerous opportunities for those 50 and older to stay young by competing athletically, singing, dancing, playing instruments, running comedy routines, and telling stories—and maybe even come home with a medal for it.
On April 30 from 2 to 4pm, seniors will take the stage at Good Samaritan – Las Cruces Village to compete in a variety of talent categories. While many will seek the gold, it’s really about having a good time and the opportunity to showcase talents that have been honed over a lifetime (or perhaps recently acquired once grown kids or retirement provided the time.)
Talent competition Event Manager Betty Burgess says, “We have so many talented seniors in Las Cruces. This is a great outlet for them to show their talents to those who don’t usually get the chance to see them.”
Watching the dance and talent competitions is free and a great way to spend an afternoon. Just like any performers, the senior competitors love having people in the audience cheering them on. Competitors will compete in the dance categories of country western, polka, jitterbug, waltz, Latin, and line dancing. In the talent category, either alone or as part of a group, they can perform comedy acts, ethnic dance, instrumental recitals, dramatic readings, or vocals. To qualify, participants must be 50 by the end of the year in which they perform and will compete against those in their own age group.
The Cactus Chords Barbershop Quartet brought home the gold in the vocal category for their age group last year at both the local and state games. Steve Litts, the bass in the men’s four-part harmony group, says, “The State Seniors Got Talent Competition is a rewarding experience that goes beyond the gold medal we were honored to receive. The quartet met and enjoyed other seniors and were proud to be a part of the wide variety of talent shared that day. Post-competition, our participation has generated increased interest and demand for the Cactus Chords’ brand of Barbershop music. We’re grateful for the opportunity to bring a bit of joy to people through our music. It keeps us young.”
Kelle Hoskins, who now lives in Santa Fe, participated in the talent competition in the vocal solo category. She says, “It had been ages since I had performed on stage, so it was fun to get a couple friends together to back me up on ukulele while I sang one of my favorite old standards. And I even got a medal!”
Dennis and TJ Diaz started competing when TJ turned 50. Dennis told her he’d dance with her if she did the discus competition with him. They had been learning basic dance moves from the NMSU DanceSport Team. “When the night of the competition came, I was so nervous my knees were shaking,” Dennis recalls. “TJ calmed me down like only she could by saying, ‘Forget the audience and the competition, just have fun dancing with your wife!’ Which is what I did. It became one of the most special memories I have of our last year together before she passed away in May of last year. When I look at the video recording of the event, it looks like I was dancing with an angel — which I was!”
Gary Koverman and Norma Trujillo have brought home about 20 medals from local and state dance competitions in numerous categories. When they started dancing together three years ago, Norma was a novice. She had two evenings to learn six dances for the local competition. She says, “It was quite a challenge for me, but my confidence levels went sky high when we competed at the state.”
For those considering a whirl on the dance floor, Gary offers up this advice: “You don’t have to be perfect. I’ve known people that weren’t really experienced, but they had a good time.”
“We have so many talented seniors in Las Cruces. This is a great outlet for them to show their talents to those who don’t usually get the chance to see them.”
How many adults aged 50 to 90+ are expected to take place in
the 2017 games?
Doña Ana County
National Senior Olympics
Need to Know Information
Registration for the local games is $10 per person to register, plus $5 per person for each event or dance entered and must be submitted two weeks prior to the event between 10am and 2pm weekdays at:
Doña Ana County Senior Olympics
205 W. Boutz, Building 6, Suite D
Dance and talent is just one of the many activities that will take place from March through May under the auspices of the Doña Ana County Senior Olympics. Other events include race walking, pool, archery, swimming, cycling, and more.
The New Mexico Senior Games will be held in Albuquerque July 19 – 23. This year, for the first time, any senior may enter the state talent or dance competition without competing at the local level—but the local games do provide a great opportunity to prepare for the state competition. While there is no national talent competition, sports competitors may move up to compete at the national games held on odd years. (2017’s national games will be in Birmingham with 2019 scheduled for Albuquerque).
don’t miss it
Doña Ana County Senior Olympics Talent and Dance Competitions
Saturday, April 30, 2 – 4pm
Good Samaritan – Las Cruces Village Auditorium in the Social Center
3011 Buena Vida Circle