Bowl, dance, run, and volunteer: How to get involved with the Polk Senior Games

The Polk Senior Games will draw 2,000 competitors and 700 volunteers. Learn how you can compete, help, or cheer at this year’s events.

Three people judge archery results at the Polk Senior Games. They stand around a large target pointing at the arrows around the bullseye.

If you’re looking to support local older adults, you’re right on target.

Move over, Olympics. There’s another athletic event coming up that won’t require a ticket to Paris. Get ready for the 31st Polk Senior Games, happening Saturday, Feb. 24-Saturday, March 9 at locations around Polk County.

The Polk Senior Games draw over 2,100 participants, making it one of the largest events of its kind in Florida. This competition is just for older adults to shine — participants must be 50 years or older. This year, there are 38 events, including:

  • Sports like bowling, golf, and basketball
  • Pickleball and tennis
  • Ballroom, social, and square dancing
  • Track events
  • Games and puzzles like chess, bridge, and sudoku
Four runners sprint quickly on a track as a spectator watches from behind a fence. The runners are wearing athletic gear and competitor number bibs.

The top competitors will take home gold, silver, and bronze medals.

Competitors will vie for gold medals and a chance at the Florida Senior Games. Big winners could even qualify for the National Senior Games.

There are three ways to get involved. First, if you’re 50 years or older, enter the games to compete. Registration begins at $12 for your first event, plus $5 for each additional event, up to $37. (Some events, like archery + golf, require an extra facility fee.) Registration is open through Friday, Feb. 9 at 5 p.m.

Swimmers dive into a large pool with divided lanes. Judges sit behind them in chairs, and other swimmers stand around the pool.

Dive into a new experience as an athlete or volunteer.

Not competing this year? An event this large takes a lot of volunteers — over 700, to be exact. Volunteers help market the games and run events. Reach out online to sign up.

The final way to get involved is to cheer on competitors. Check the full 2024 schedule to find a competition near you. Lakeland locations include the Estates At Carpenters, Beerman Family Tennis Center, and Lake Parker Park. Pro tip: Don’t miss the opening ceremony at All Saints Academy (5001 FL-540, Winter Haven) on Saturday, Feb. 24 at 8:45 a.m.

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