Seniors' horses race for loonies

Elaine Prest and Pam Sheppard admire Patches, Wedgwood House team’s mascot entry in upcoming Seniors Round Up. - Ann Andersen
Elaine Prest and Pam Sheppard admire Patches, Wedgwood House team’s mascot entry in upcoming Seniors Round Up.
— image credit: Ann Andersen

Seniors' Day at the races comes to Cowichan this month with the third annual seniors celebration and gathering hosted by Cowichan Seniors Community Foundation.

And there'll be a rollicking country-western Round Up at Mellor Hall in Exhibition Park as at least four seniors' teams compete to establish which group boasts the best racehorse team mascot, best corral and longest strip of loonies along the "race track".

"These elderly folk are remarkably competitive," says Foundation executive director Carol Hunt.

Teams Wedgwood, Meadows (Sunridge) Duncan Manor and Valley Seniors were given toilet plungers and have been busy fashioning their horses for the event, she explains.

""There's amazing teamwork in place," Hunt adds.

Hunt says she's seen some of the mascot horses. "What an incredible job they've done," she exclaims.

And that includes the Wedgwood House entry - named Patches by residents' vote - whose head was knitted by Wedgwood dweller Grace Spinks.

The horse boasts come-hither eyelashes and a big cowboy doll sitting tall in the saddle - in this case a back blanket quilted by some of the residents.

"The horses race by measuring out the distance of a strip of loonies that have been collected by their team," Hunt explains.

The teams are all seniors and receive support from their grandchildren or young friends in such races as egg and spoon and relays. As well, home support agencies will provide people to help with games and activities.

"There are lots of prizes for the various competitions, including games and races for children," Hunt says.

The event is a fundraiser for the Foundation's supported transportation program, in which seniors are driven door-to-door by volunteers for errands like medical appointments.

Last year the event at the B.C. Forest Discovery Centre - a Grand Family day - attracted around 1,000 people and raised approximately $4000.

This year, Hunt expects fewer people.

"We have mainly the teams and their supporters and are hoping the public will come along, too," she says.

She says anyone in the community can sponsor a team or put together a loonie strip (a metre long of about 37 loonies).

Entertainment includes face-painting, cowboy poet Magg Mawhinney, the Chemainus Seniors dancers, and the Malaika marimba band - an interactive presentation with a demo on how to play the instruments.

Visitors can eat from a lunch bistro of inexpensive wholesome food and also gather community information like St. John's therapy dog program, Grandparents raising Grandchildren, Green Community composting, supported driving program and transit options.

Your ticket:

What: Seniors Round Up

Where: Mellor Hall, Exhibition Park

When: May 27, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Tickets: Entry $1. Teams and team guests, helpers, free. To sponsor a team or team member or fill a loonie strip, phone 250-715-6481.


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