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Games luring 500 athletes to Manteca
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About 500 athletes are converging on Manteca from as far away as Arizona and Utah to compete in the 2010 Manteca Senior Games that open on Saturday.

They are expected to bring spouses and friends and stay anywhere from two to five days depending upon the events they are competing in that range from track to pickleball.

“We’re getting a lot of inquires from people about what they can do in and around Manteca,” noted Manteca Convention & Visitors Bureau Executive Director Linda Abeldt whose organization is hosting the Games.

The information they are providing ranges from Manteca attractions such as Bass Pro Shops to Delicato Winery to day trips to San Francisco, Old Sacramento, the Gold Country, and Yosemite Valley.

The vast majority are from Southern California.

“We only got a handful from Northern California,” Abeldt said. “There are about a dozen from Sacramento, a few from the Bay Area and a few locals.”

All of the rest are out-of-area competitors which means they will be filling hotels rooms, eating out and shopping during mid-week.

The Senior Games are part of an overall strategy by the CVB to pump money into the local economy through recreational supports. Manteca this past weekend hosted a Northern California soccer tournament that brought 130 teams and an estimated 3,000-plus people to Manteca.

There are 200 individual athletes over the age of 50 registered for the Manteca Senior Games with about two dozen teams that will compete in everything from softball and basketball to soccer. The overall number is double the participants of last year.

The Manteca Senior Games is a feeder competition to the California State Senior Olympics for athletes 50 and older.

The event starts Saturday with a reception at Del Webb at Woodbridge that ends with the start of a torch relay run at 9 a.m. that will cover a 5.5-mile course ending at the BMX track at Spreckels Avenue and Moffat Boulevard. Among the noted athletes in the relay are Cherri Cherrard,  1967 Pan American Games Gold medalist; R.C. Owens, San Francisco 49er alumni, Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame Inductee 2010; and Anne Cribbs, a member of the 1960 Olympic swimming team Gold medalist.

The BMX competition will follow at 11 a.m.

Among the most popular events are pickelball set for Saturday, May 15, and Sunday, May 16 at the Manteca Tennis Center as well as track and field at Sierra High on Saturday, May 15, starting at 9:30 a.m.

Manteca Senior Games sponsors are Woodbridge at Del Webb, Merrill Gardens, Prestige Senior Living, Best Buy Manteca, Wesson Hearing Aid Center & Harder Optometry, The Commons at Union Ranch, Golden State Karate Association, Andersons 209 BMX, Manteca Unified School District, Delta National Bank, Central Valley Screen Printing, Big League Dreams, Manteca Parks and Recreation, PG&E, Tuff Boy Trailers, The Big Bopper Shopper, Manteca Ambulance, Manteca Trailer & Camper, Manteca Sports Commission and the Manteca Convention & Visitors Bureau.
For more information on the Senior Games, contact the Manteca CVB at 823-7229.