Jim Demet - Salt Lake City, UT
Jim started first became involved the Huntsman World Senior Games in 1991. He has won medals in Cycling, Road Races Track & Field, Swimming and the Triathlon.
Jim’s impact on the Games far outshines his what he has done in athletics. He is a hard working Ambassador. His promotion of the Games has reached far beyond his home in Utah. He has a true love for these Games and his efforts to make them better have indeed made them such.
He was the Director of the Biathlon/Duathlon for their initial 4 year. These two sports of differing distances were a combination of running and swimming. In 1996 they gave way to our present Triathlon.
Paula Bell - St. George, UT
By 1990 the Games were gaining momentum. Most of its founders and directors lived in Salt Lake City. Needing someone who could run things in St. George, John Morgan wisely turned to Paula Bell. Paula’s skills as a manager and organizer were invaluable as she assumed the responsibilities of Office Manager.
The early years were difficult years. Finding new sport venues, recruiting volunteers and being the conduit between the folks in Salt Lake City and those in St. George were only some of the challenges Paula faced. But her 3 years of service as Office Manager were fruitful. As she put it: “each year was a stepping stone to new heights.”
But her involvement with the Games did not end in 1992. Since then she has served as the Parade Coordinator for our gala Opening Ceremonies.
Red Hangland - Portland, OR
You don’t have kick around the ball fields in the Great Northwest very long searching for “Red” Hangland. He’s either there playing or watching a daughter or granddaughter play. Softball is his passion – and his daughter’s passion –and his granddaughter’s passion.
“Red” started coming to the Games in 1988. There were only 5 teams that year, but it didn’t matter. He was hooked on this tournament - “If I could only play in one tournament, it would be the Huntsman World Senior Games,” Hangland said.
“Red” and his Portland teammates have almost annually taken home the hardware during these past 19 years. That alone would warrant consideration for the Hall of Fame. But his love for these Games has caused a flood of teams from the Northwest to make the annual trek to St. George.
Grant Misbach - Provo, UT
Back in 1991 the Games decided to add table tennis. When looking for a director it was determined that we could not ask for a better person to introduce table tennis than Grant Misbach. He is highly respected on the national and international scene. Grant’s efforts truly made our table tennis tournament a “world” event. Participants from all over the globe are fixtures at this amazing event.
Grant is also very accomplished as a player. He started playing at the age of 10 and has earned a rainbow of medals and awards over the years – some in singles – some with national and international partners – and even some with his sons.
LaGrande Nielsen - Hemet, CA
If you started a search for the one person who most embodies the spirit of the Games, your search would lead you directly to LaGrand Nielsen. First he is a gentleman – then a friend – then an ambassador – and finally a competitor.
One year an Irish gentleman entered the Games to offer a little competition. As they neared the finish line and there was no doubt about the outcome. LaGrand suddenly stopped and waited for his new Irish friend to catch up. As they crossed the line together, he lifted their arms in shared victory.
But don’t be deceived! This man is tough. A collection of over 400 ribbons and medals attest to his running skills. And he didn’t start running until he was 60 years old.
Gordon Shields - San Diego, CA
Let’s start with the numbers:
9 overall winner medals
8 overall jersey awards
And that is just at the Huntsman World Senior Games!
Look at these numbers and it is easy to see why Gordy is one of the most respected competitors in all of cycling. He is a co-founder of the highly respected San Diego Cyclo-Vets cycling club. Gordy has influenced many of his colleagues to come to the Games – his favorite race.
Ask him why he loves the Huntsman Games so much and the answer comes quickly & easily: “It’s the camaraderie and wonderful spirit we all share that makes it so exceptional – plus being the best organized!”
Lee & Ruby Hammel - San Diego, CA
Any discussion about Lee or Ruby Hammel always becomes a discussion about Lee and Ruby Hammel. Consider this:
Outstanding Tennis Player - Both
Youth Tennis Instructor - Both
Utah Tennis Hall of Fame - Both
Won at Huntsman World Senior Games Every Year Since 1988 - Both
Huntsman World Senior Games Tennis Director - Both
Lee & Ruby took over as Tennis Directors in 1991 and served for 9 years. Under their leadership our tennis tournament grew into one of the most respected senior tournaments in the country.
Cleo Wardle - St. George, UT
Start with hard work and then throw in compassion and grit. Add love. Add knowledge. Add skill. And then just before you mix it all together, throw in large quantities of laughter, zaniness, craziness and unpredictability. Finally, add all the energy you can find – mix well – and there you have Cleo.
As a participant in bowling and horseshoes, Cleo is a tough competitor. She won the first gold medal in bowling – way back in 1988. She has been one of the top female horseshoe pitchers in the Western US for a long time – often beating the men.
Cleo has been the assistant director of horseshoes almost since its inception. She is friends with all and respected by all. She’s just plain fun!
Marvin Woodbury - St. George, UT
He is soft-spoken and unassuming, so it is easy to overlook Marv. However, it is not easy to overlook his 32 medals in Track & Field and Road Races, the scores of people he has directly brought to the Games or the scores more that he has influenced.
As an official ambassador of the Games, Marv wears the hat well. As he talks to people, his love for the Games shines through. “The Huntsman Games has changed my lifestyle over the years . . . few have trained, changed their living style and enjoyed the competition and the friendships more than me.”
Marv continues: “To be a champion in this life, an individual must live like a champion. To be in the Hallof Fame I now know I must continue to do those things to help promote the Games.”
Fran Zelinkoff - Denver, CO
The call was simple enough – “Can we have women’s volleyball at the Huntsman World Senior Games?” The answer was also simple – “Yes, get us enough teams and we would love to have it.”
That is all Fran Zelinkoff needed to hear. Twelve years later those “enough” teams number nearly 70 teams. It is through the tireless and relentless efforts of Fran that women’s volleyball is a force at the Games.
When she had a team move up in age divisions and there were not enough teams in that age, she went out and found them. Today we have 70+ teams and there is talk of Fran wanting a 75+ year old division next year.
Calvin Dilworth - Southfield, MI
Write a simple letter and look what you get.
Twenty years ago Sylvia Wunderli wrote a letter to Cal Dilworth asking him to bring a basketball team to the first Games. That he did - again and again and again. Not a team, but teams. Not one sport but many sports. Not one person but more people than anybody in the history of the Games.
Cal has had an extremely successful athletic career. College Hall of Fame, Harlem Globetrotters, International Masters Basketball honors and many other honors have come his way.
Cal is a part of the Games family – not just as an athlete or a volunteer – not just as an ambassador or a pioneer – but as a friend and a brother. Oh, and as a Hall of Famer.
Jay & Connie Eitner - St. George, UT
They have done it all! Over the years Jay & Connie have been involved in just about everything. Here are some of them:
Jay says he is just a “go-fer”. We say he is a problem solver. What a joy it is to have volunteers who will do whatever you need them to do.
To understand the heart of Jay & Connie we only need to go back to 2003. Connie, though terminally ill, spent time with Colleen Trone, just making sure she knew all about the Information booth and what to do. Shortly after the Games on October 22, 2003, she passed away. She is missed.
Bill Given - St. George, UT
They call him “Mr. Softball” in Utah. It is a label that is well deserved. Before Bill, softball in Southern Utah was . . . well, it wasn’t. There weren’t any organized program. Bill convinced the city to start one and then ran it for them for over 25 years. The Canyons Complex was built largely because of Bill’s efforts.
As NSA Utah State Director, he has garnered several national awards. He is fixture in Southern Utah softball.
But these are not the reasons he is in the Hall of Fame. It is because of the heights to which he has taken our tournament over the last 20 years – the largest and best senior softball tournament in the world.
Frank Herrelko, Sr - Lower Gwynedd, PA
We don’t know how else to say it – Frank simply loves the Games. He doesn’t just think about them in October. He lives and breathes and promotes and sells the Games all year long.
Frank is a wonderful ambassador for the Games. But he is also an athlete. He is a bowler, a race walker and a Track & Field standout. His medal count is impressive – nearly 150 by his own count.
Here is something else we don’t know how else to say – “We love you, Frank! Thanks for being you!”
Bonnie Kabey - St. George, UT
Along about February she starts showing up - an occasional trip just to see where we need help. She knows come June, when registration opens, the Games office will be her home.
Every application that comes into the Games office must pass through her hands. And in many cases she has to interpret them before she can process them. Bonnie is more than just a seasonal employee. She is an athlete (bowling) and has served as a bowling co-director.
But above all she is the best helping hand we have. When a job needs to be done, bonnie is there – tackling boxes bigger than herself or just helping move stuff or organizing stuff or cleaning out stuff.
Dennis Ohms - Cedar City, UT
Dennis just shows up and does his job. There is not a lot of fanfare. There is not a lot of attention given. But there are a whole lot of content horseshoe pitchers.
From the beginning, Dennis has been our Horseshoe Director. And from the beginning, we just let him do his thing and try to stay out of his way. Maybe it is the organizational skills that carry over from 38 years as a bookstore manager at Southern Utah University that makes him so good. Whatever it is we are sure glad.
Dennis is not only a good organizer he is also a pretty good pitcher. As President of the Southern Utah Horseshoe Pitchers Association since 1983, he is well known and well respected throughout the West.
Debbie Zockoll - St. George, UT
We don’t know how many apples the teacher has gotten over the years. But we do know how many friends she has made over 15 years as Road Races Director – A LOT!
Debbie started as a volunteer in cycling in our very first Games. But after a few years, she switched to Road Races and there she remains. And we are glad.
Debbie’s love for Road Races was recently demonstrated when she ran 50 miles on her 50th birthday. Accompanied by family & friends, she ran from Springdale to St. George – a length of almost two marathons!
City of St. George
Even if you are at first skeptical, you need to do what is right. And that is exactly what the City of St. George did when approached by John Morgan with this crazy idea of a Senior Olympics.
Through the years, the City has always been there when need. And they continue to do so today. They have been there with financial support. They have been there with facilities and venue support. They have been there with resources support.
But most of all they have been there with moral support and encouragement. The Games salutes and honors the City of St. George for allowing us to succeed.
Karen & Jon M. Huntsman, Sr. - Salt Lake City, UT
Many people think philanthropy is all about money. It is not. It is about heart. True philanthropists give more than their money. They also give themselves.
One need not search too long or look too hard to understand the vision that Jon & Karen Huntsman have for these Games. It is not about numbers – it is about health. It is not just about achievement – but it is also about quality of life . . . and hope . . . and goals . . . and family – the Games family.
The Huntsman family is indeed exceptional. To have their financial support helps pay the bills. To know them enriches your life.
Stephen Wade - St. George, UT
If you have ever taken one of our shuttles from the headquarters location to a venue – the free ride was the compliment of Stephen Wade. From the start, he has provided the means for us to assist athletes with transportation needs.
Since the beginning in 1987, he has provided resources and revenue that have made these Games better. We thank him for his support over so many years.
County Roads, County Schools, County Parks and County Law Enforcement – it doesn’t take long to realize it. If you are going to put on a major event you need the help of your local County resources.
And have we ever had their help through the years. The Washington County schools have been venue sites for many of our sports – basketball, volleyball, track & field, race walk, road races and triathlon. Then there is cycling, which requires road closings and traffic control.
Through it all, the County has been there for us. Without them, we cannot do what we do. Thanks Washington County!
Mona Given - St. George, UT
Let’s just start with the adjectives: caring, compassionate, well-connected, persuasive, funny, spiritual, knowledgeable, decisive, influential, special.
Mona’s involvement with the Games began when she was a City Councilwoman in 1987. She became a volunteer and soon a member of the Board of Directors. Over the years Mona has served as an Office Assistant and Assistant Director of the Games.
In 1999 she became our Chief Financial Officer, bringing a fiscal responsibility that was needed at the time.
Kathie Thayne - St. George, UT
Hired in 1995 as Chief Executive Officer, Kathie Thayne has led the Games through amazing growth and popularity. If a new leader’s responsibility, in part, is to take the organization to the next level, then Kathie has more than succeeded. She has taken us to several new levels.
Since 1995, the Games have grown from 2,500 participants to nearly 9,500. 8 new sports and programs have been added. The Games has maintained financial stability and has preserved the warmth and personal service on which they were founded.
Kathie’s strength in management is a reflection of her personality: everyone is valued - everyone is respected - everyone is heard.
Cheri Atkin - St. George, UT
After serving several years as a tennis volunteer, Cheri became the Games Operations Manager in 1993 and served as such for 3 years.
Cheri’s impact on the Games is significant. Her tenure here was during the transitional years of the Games. She spearheaded the moving of Games operations form Salt Lake City to St. George. She took the operations from individual homes to a real office with a real address.
Cheri brought an enthusiasm and a professionalism to the Games that helped transition the Games from their formative years into their growth years.
Wayne Evans - Salt Lake City, UT
“Wayne did the advertising for us – for Free! It was his wonderful advertising that put us on the map.” – John Morgan, founder of the Games.
He is a member of the Board of Trustees and its Executive Committee and has been an integral part of the Games from its inception.
Asked about the challenges of those early years, Wayne said: ”The first and largest challenge was getting a new senior athletic event, held in a town nobody had heard of, recognized in Utah, the West, the nation and the World.”
Steven Heiner - Provo, UT
You may not know him, but you know some of the things he has brought to the Games – Health Screenings, Healthy Lifestyle Seminars and Celebrities at the Ceremonies.
He began his involvement at the Games as a fundraiser, promoter and an athlete. Playing softball, golf, basketball and tennis Steve brought teams and several friends to the Games.
As head of the BYU Gerontology department he introduced its intern program to the health screenings at the Games. Steve is also on our Board of Directors.
Stan Darger - Salt Lake City, UT
Stan is a Game’s original – an original recruit of John Morgan – an original Board of Director member – an original promoter and financial supporter of the Games.
Stan was a banker in Salt Lake City and his influence in the local business community was a tremendous asset to the Games. He is one of those early pioneers that made sure the Games survived and thrived – an original.
Doug Labrum - St. George, UT
Doug has been part of the Games from the start. He is our current insurance agent. He is also Vice President of our current Board of Trustees and a member of its Executive Committee.
Through the years Doug has served in many capacities with the Games, including volunteer. He has been a part of just about every major decision and success of the Games. Here is what John Morgan says: “One of our very first meetings was at the St. George Hilton, and Doug was there, cheering for us. And he is still doing it, with great understanding and support.”
Daisy Morgan - Salt Lake City, UT
Here is the formula for success: Sell your wife on the idea! That is exactly what John Morgan did and it might have saved the Games.
Let’s let John tell it: “It must have been in the latter part of September that Sylvia Wunderli came to me and said that nobody had actually turned in an application. She was wondering what we ought to do. I said I would talk it over with Daisy and then make a decision.
So, I presented the situation to Daisy, and she Daisy didn’t hesitate a second. She said: ‘We ARE going to have the World Senior Olympics, beginning Oct. 12th, if only a half dozen of us show up!’ That settled it for me.”
John Morgan - Salt Lake City, UT
He founded the Games – everyone knows that. And it is easy to look back at twenty years of success and think how lucky he was to grab onto such a neat idea.
However, that would be a real distorted view of what this man brought to fruition. Granted there were many, many people who supported the idea and worked hard for it. But John was the one to make it work. It was his dream and he made that dream come true with action and financial resources.
There is so much that can be said about this man – his heart – his love – his compassion. Here we choose to just say “Thank You!”
John Romney - Salt Lake City, UT
John Romney, the Huntsman family representative to the Games, has been so much more that just a liaison.
John is a vital part of the Games. Through the years he has traveled and promoted the Games in over 40 states and a dozen foreign countries. He has talked to Governors, Mayors, Senior Sports Executives and City Council Members.
His love for the Games is revealed in each meeting, speech and conversation. And that makes him an incredible representative of the Games. John is Vice President of the Board of Trustees and on its Executive Committee.
Sylvia Wunderli - Draper, UT
Sylvia needed a job – John Morgan needed a good person – Sylvia was a good person – John hired her. The scenario seems simple enough, but the impact is huge. John made it happen, Sylvia got it done.
What is it that got done? Well, as Executive Director of the Games, she did just about everything in those early years. She organized the office, found directors and volunteers, coordinated venues and events and she oversaw just about everything.
Maybe the most important thing she did, however, was establish international ties for the Games. Her efforts are still bearing fruit today.
Sisu Steinschulte - Bonn, Germany
On Sylvia Wunderli’s first promotional trip to Europe, she met Sisu. We don’t know all of the conversations. However, we do know the results – one incredibly wonderful and active ambassador.
Sisu has brought scores of Europeans to the Huntsman World Senior Games. She has truly made us an international event. And she continues to expand the awareness of the Games in Europe.
But most of all, she is fun!