Friday, December 8, 2023
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Seniors Prove Fierce Competitors
Joanne Wetherell pitches the bean bag as Tewa Evans watches.
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Sunday, September 24, 2023


They giggled like schoolkids playing hopscotch. They dueled one another with the intensity of sword fighters on “Game of Thrones.” And at least one competitor even challenged the referees concerning the rules of the game—all in mock fun, of course.

These were the seniors—those 50 and older—taking part in the Senior Connection’s 2023 Senior Games cornhole tournament.

The Senior Connection started the Senior Games a few years ago in the spirit of staying active while having fun. And some of the seniors who took part this past week spent the whole day at play, pitting their skills against others in games of pickleball and golf before finishing with the evening cornhole tournament at Ketchum’s Forest Service Park where they were rewarded with a Mexican buffet from La Cabanita.

Myrna Oliver jokingly attempts to school Senior Connection Director—and cornhole umpire—Jovita Pina on the finer points of cornhole.

“We played pickleball this morning and said, ‘Let’s play cornhole, too.’ We have no idea what we’re doing,” said Alex Babalis.

The pickleball tourney, held on Sun Valley Resort’s courts was predictably cutthroat.

“Twenty-eight players. Four divisions. Intermediate and advanced--nobody’s a beginner anymore when it comes to pickleball,” said Robert Shuford, who coordinated the pickleball tourney while Casey Scherer took on cornhole and Phil Doerflein and Dave Lipman, the golf. “It was very exciting, very competitive.”

Cornhole proved just as competitive in a fun way as competitors cheered one another on.

Steve Storey, who would go on to win a gold medal in cornhole, throws while Sandy Kirk warms up.

Tewa Evans had never played cornhole before but she gave it a try despite saying she was a little limited due to a paralysis caused by polio when she was a child. She took one look at the other players and quickly put together a strategy: “Line up your feet properly, your right foot in back of your left, pull your left arm back as far as you can and throw.”

Joanne Wetherell’s strategy was simpler: Just flash a big smile. It seemed to work as she took gold, along with Steve Storey.

Sandy Seth and his wife showed up in lederhosen, having taken part in the pickleball tourney in the morning, following it up with Beer Olympics at an Oktoberfest celebration and capping both with the cornhole tourney.

The two are in transition, spending more and more time in Sun Valley as they attempt to leave Houston and become fulltime residents in Sun Valley. And they already know they have their work cut out for them come the next Senior Games.

Steve Seth and his wife managed to cram three competitions, including Beer Olympics, into the day.

“I had no idea these Senior Games could be so competitive,” said Seth.



Male 50-60: Gold-Phil Doerflein; Silver-Travis Thelan; Bronze-Greg Fairfield

Dede Huish lets her beanbag fly as Dennis Hanggi watches.

Male 60-70: Gold-Jeff Neel; Silver-Roy Lightbody; Bronze-Chad Matteson

Male 70-80: Gold-Steve Job; Silver-Dana Hollinger; Bronze-Stuart Lye

Male 80-plus: Gold Ken Hills; Silver-Blair Hull; Bronze-Ed Cummins

Female 50-60: Gold-Anna Edwards; Silver-Christine McPherson

Female 60-70: Gold-Edna Benzinger

Female 70-80: Gold-Shellie Bronson; Silver-Dianne Stidham



 Meals on Wheels Division: Gold-Tom Robinson and David Nauman; Silver-Nancy Auskelis; Bronze-Lorna Hazelton

Vision & Hearing Division: Gold-William DePaul; Silver-Jenny Femling; Bronze-Brian Champion


Fit & Fall Division: Gold-Doug Niedrich; Silver Geoff Wells and Munzer Qaddourah; Bronze Jeff Oak and Joanne Wetherell


Gold-Joanne Wetherell and Steve Storey


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