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Senior Games reception set for this evening
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• WHAT: Opening reception for Manteca Senior Games
• WHEN: Tonight at 6:30 p.m.
• WHERE: Del Webb at Woodbridge clubhouse

The next step in promoting Manteca as a place friendly for active seniors officially gets under way this evening when Del Webb at Woodbridge hosts the opening reception for the 2009 Manteca Senior games.

There are more than 300 entrants – from softball teams to individuals – competing in four different sports that include track and field events Wednesday at Sierra High, softball Tuesday through Thursday at Big League Dreams, pickleball Tuesday and Wednesday, and martial arts today at 10 a.m. at the Manteca Boys & Girls Club. A demonstration sport – BMX – takes place today at noon at the Atwater BMX track.

Competitors are expected to number near 700 while spectators may double that number.

Manteca Convention & Visitors Bureau Executive Director Linda Abeldt noted that this year’s games hopefully will lay the basis for much larger events in upcoming years with additional sports being added.

The CVB believes that Manteca’s location – 100 miles equal distance to San Francisco, San Jose, and Sacramento – plus its wealth of venues for amateur recreation and nearby attractions when coupled with the Senior Games will help establish Manteca’s reputation as a popular destination for active seniors.

Del Webb – a planned community of 1,425 homes for those 55 and older – makes the perfect location for the opening reception that will include live music and light refreshments. It will take place at Del Webb’s 28,000-square-foot community clubhouse that comes with two swimming pools – one indoor – a large fishing pond, fitness center, indoor track, bocce ball courts, tennis courts, a rated 18-hole putting course, and softball fields. The reception starts at 6:30 p.m.

Pickleball games set for Tuesday & Wednesday
Pickleball – a wildly popular game about Senior Games participants – takes place at the Manteca Regional Tennis Center on North Union Road. The women’s doubles and the men’s doubles start at 8 a.m. Tuesday followed by the mixed doubles at 1 p.m. The women’s singles and men’s singles are at 8 a.m. on Wednesday.

Pickleball is essentially a paddle game on a badminton-sized court that involves playing with a special perforated slow-moving ball.

The ball is served underhand. No bouncing from the court is allowed.

Pickleball started in 1965 when bored kids prompted two fathers – one Congressman Joel Prtichard of Washington State – to dream up the game on his family’s asphalt badminton court in the back yard. It combines badminton, tennis, and ping-pong. The name came because the family’s cocker spaniel named “Pickles” kept stealing the ball.

The three-day softball tournament starts Tuesday at 8 a.m. at the BLD complex.

Field events get underway Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. at Sierra High followed by track events at 3 p.m.