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South Dakota Senior Games come to Aberdeen

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ABERDEEN, S.D. (Dakota News Now) – The South Dakota Senior Games came to Aberdeen on July 6th. Anyone 50 years old and up can compete in more than a dozen sporting events.

Those events include basketball free throws, bean bag toss, golf, pool, track, bowling and more.

Howard Bich has loved competing in sports since he can remember.

”When I was little, I used to bat rocks with a stick and I’d throw baseballs over our barn at home,” said Bich.

Bich began participating in the Senior Games in 1996 when the age limit was lowered to 50 from 55. He has competed every year since.

”So, I basically compete in everything that’s humanly possible to do in a time span and what my schedule fits into,” said Bich.

That’s why he became Executive Director of the South Dakota Senior Games eight years ago, but he had one condition.

”That was one of the things, if I was going to be director, I still wanted to compete,” said Bich.

The Senior Games, according to Bich, give those over 50 years of age the chance to stay healthy while also being a competitor again.

“You don’t have to be good at sports to do this. Our main goal is to get people active. And that’s the whole purpose of the Senior Games movement nationally and statewide is to get people active. We feel that if people compete, they’ll be a little bit more involved with their fitness than what they would be normally,” said Bich.

This year, however, will be Bich’s last as Executive Director. He’ll be handing the position off to Kelcy Nash on October 1st.

Arlene Bich, Howard’s wife of 58 years, says she knows Howard will still be competing for years to come, as will she.

Arlene began participating in the Senior Games because she didn’t get the chance to be a competitor when she was younger. She graduated high school before Title IX was passed in 1972.

”I really wanted to compete in some way, but when I was younger, I didn’t get to compete. That would have been so fun. I just would have loved to have done that,” said Arlene.

Competitors must compete in a regional Senior Games to make it to the state games, which begin in Watertown on September 8th.

Aberdeen’s events will run through July 9th, but other regional Senior Games will be hosted this summer in Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Huron, Brookings and Watertown.

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