By Lillian Bowe
Roberto Ortega said he had no practice beforehand for his two events at the New Mexico Senior Olympics, which were held last week in Roswell.
Ortega participated in Frisbee accuracy and soccer kick. Despite not practicing for either event, Ortega returned home victorious with a bronze medal in Frisbee accuracy.
“My kids want me to practice so they can see how good I will be, but I don’t want to pull something before the big event,” Ortega said with a laugh.
The six seniors of Los Abuelitos Senior Center and one senior from Elida came back with medals and stories from their five days in Roswell participating in the Olympics.
Linda Uttaro, site coordinator, went along with the group of senior citizens as their cheerleader.
“It was so much fun but we all came back tired from all the excitement,” Uttaro said.
Uttaro said the banquet on the last night was the most fun as there was a dance and a dinner for all the participants.
Juan Tapia, a veteran of the games, came back from the Olympics winning fifth place in Frisbee accuracy.
“It was a lot of fun,” Tapia said.
Some of the other medals brought back included a gold medal in duet singing from Armando Payen, a silver medal in soccer accuracy from Mary Madrial and a bronze medal from Judy Duke from Elida in air rifle.
Uttaro said 15 people went to the Olympics from Clovis and Portales but she wants to see more participation.
“I would love more people to join and maybe next year we can have 15 people from Roosevelt County alone,” Uttaro said.
Uttaro said she wants seniors from all over Roosevelt County and they don’t have to be a member of the senior center to participate in the event. Uttaro said they have to sign up in April as they have to participate in the local events in Clovis. Uttaro said she would sign them up and they could travel together to all the events.
“The Olympics are just a lot of fun and there are so many events. They have horseshoes, tennis, swimming and so much more,” Uttaro said.
Uttaro is even considering participating next year in archery. Uttaro participated in archery when she went to college and still has the bow and arrows.
“I think I might just get out my gear and try it out,” Uttaro said.
The New Mexico Senior Olympics are held every year and is open to people 50 and older.