Ponoka couple headed to Alberta 55+ summer games

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Ponoka couple Dennis and Eileen Ensminger will travel to Fairview later this month to compete in the 55 Plus Summer Games for cribbage and art.

Ponoka couple Dennis and Eileen Ensminger will travel to Fairview later this month to compete in the 55 Plus Summer Games for cribbage and art.

ADAM JACKSON/Ponoka News

When you think of the summer games, you often think of track and field.

But for competitors in the Alberta 55+ Summer Games, it’s a little different.

Dennis and Eileen Ensminger will be playing cribbage and painting respectively in their quest for gold. But it’s not all about winning, they insist.

“It’s the perfect way for seniors to mingle and meet other seniors,” said Eileen.

The summer and winter games are not the only time that the Ensmingers get out and play, though. They are actively involved in challenge cups, which lead up to the major games.

“We like to do the challenge cups and that’s what lead us to start competing in the games,” said Eileen.

The road to the summer games isn’t that easy, though.

Competitors have been going through playoff rounds over the last two months in order to reach the coveted summer games.

Eileen, who was an elementary school teacher for 27 years, has always been interested in art and has a large part of her basement decorated with her own pieces.

“It keeps your mind alive — it’s something detailed that keeps you on the ball,” she said.

The two have also taken on a leadership role after 10 years with Alberta 55+, recently becoming directors for the Ponoka zone of the provincial group.

“We’re pretty new to it so I guess you could call us rookies,” laughed Eileen. “But we have lots of people around to help us.”

Although the games will be held in Fairview, the couple is still very involved in challenge cups and other events that happen in both Ponoka and Rimbey throughout the year.

Activities available in Ponoka and the surrounding area range anywhere from slo-pitch to floor curling.

“We’ve made some great friends during our time with Alberta 55,” said Eileen. “It’s a great time to just get out and meet a lot of people.”

“There are so many activities that seniors from 55 on get involved in.”

Other competitors from Ponoka are Roy Spelrem and Margaret Lastiwka.