Ronald Adams - Camarillo, CA
In 2004, the Huntsman World Senior Games lost our friend and Director of Racquetball Gene Pletcher. Ron Adams not only lost a friend but his doubles partner, as well. Ron and Gene made their annual trek to the award stand to get their gold medal – seven times. All told Ron has won 16 medals in the Huntsman World Senior Games and all but two of them have been gold.
Ron has won or placed in over 600 tournaments worldwide and is a member of the National Master Racquetball Association. As he travels the world, Ron promotes the Huntsman World Senior Games. He has directly brought over 30 other players to the Games.
Maybe Ron’s friend and fellow player Pete Luffred says it best: “Most of us try to emulate his athletic ability and his attitude towards his fellow man.”
Annie Barker - Hurricane, UT
If we add up the medals and lay out all the statistics, it would be easy to see why Annie is a Hall-of-Famer. But then, you would miss the point of who this lady is and her philosophy on life. Yes, Annie has traveled the world competing and promoting health and fitness and the Huntsman World Senior Games in places like China, Japan, South Africa and Puerto Rico and yes she has won over 100 medals and held countless records
This is Annie’s philosophy on life: “Just run away from ailments. They’ll get tired. You can run yourself well.”
“Don’t be crying for me, sonny. Just get your running shoes on.” (about her fractured leg & broken arm)
“I saw people running and told myself, “By jiminy, I can do that.” (when invited to the 1st Huntsman World Senior Games)
“She said, ‘Oh, you can’t do that Annie.” I said, ‘Doggone right I can do that.” (about giving her medal to a friend from Brazil)
Merrill Barney - St. George, UT
It’s 4:30am. Pick any morning of the Games it doesn’t matter. The truck is backed up to the warehouse and in the darkness of the night supplies are being loaded for the day’s events. Equipment man? No. It is the Director of Sports, Merrill Barney, doing what he does – making sure everything is where it is needed and when it is needed.
You may have never met him. But, he has surely and significantly and positively impacted your sport.
Merrill brings a deep love for the Games, as well as an intense desire to do it right. More love - more desire – more heart than you’ll ever know - that’s what Merrill brings to the Games.
J. Michael Bennion – Salt Lake City – UT
Talk to those who were here back then. Ask them how it all happened and one name quietly and subtly keeps working its way into the conversation – Mike Bennion. Mike is quiet and unassuming. Mike is humble and easily unnoticed.
As the Games struggled in their infancy, Mike was one of those pioneers who would not let them die. If it was needed to be done, Mike did it. Little happened with the Games that Mike was not involved in – finances, administration, recruiting, planning, and sending out mailers and maybe even a little praying.
You won’t find his name in programs or handbooks or on a list of administrators. But know for sure, Mike is a huge part of what we have today.
Rodney Brown - St. George, UT
If variety is the spice of life, then Rod Brown’s running career has definitely met the criteria. As a runner, Rod has traveled extensively to compete in everything from the 100 meters to 800 meters.
He has competed in South Africa, New Zealand, England, Barbados and Canada as well as extensively in the U.S. Each trip usually produced a medal and often a record of some sort – as in world record or US record.
During his travels, Rod was both athlete and ambassador for the Games. As he prepared to travel, his checklist always included one item – our Huntsman World Senior Games brochure. Rod was going to make sure everyone knew about the Games.
Nancy Colarossi - St. George, UT
You first like her for the infectious smile and hearty laugh. She makes you feel comfortable, respected and important. From your first meeting she is your friend. But once you get to know her, your “like” turns to “love”. Everyone loves Nancy!
As chief financial and chief operations officer of the Games, Nancy is the rock of our organization. Having a pulse on all that goes on, she is knowledgeable and very proficient – productive and creative.
Her work ethics are legendary around the Games office. It is easier to count the hours she is not working than the hours she works.
Bruce Crane - South Jordan, UT
Bruce started as a volunteer helping John Morgan and Sylvia Wunderli in the first year of the Games. He also served as a basketball referee that first year. In 1988, he played on a 50-year old team and coached a 55-year old basketball team.
Through Bruce’ efforts several individuals and teams have come to know about the Games and to participate in them. As a pioneer, Bruce has participated and been a part of the Games from the beginning.
As a participant, Bruce has won over 30 medals in basketball, basketball shoot, horseshoes and softball.
Intermountain Healthcare - St. George, UT
Some sponsors support you with money, products or services, but the special ones become a part of what you are. Intermountain Healthcare is an important part of the Games.
Almost from the beginning, they have assured that medical support was where it was needed and when it was needed. This required them, not only to provide key medical personnel, but also to recruit medical volunteers - volunteers for venue sights that have grown to be nearly 100 in number.
In addition, Intermountain Healthcare has provided the medical supplies required to handle all the cuts and scrapes that are the byproduct of intense competition.
Evelyn Jones - St. George, UT
The process has repeated itself frequently throughout the past 19 years. Whenever you needed help, there was Evelyn – volunteering.
Most of us think of her work as bowling director or co-director or assistant. But Evelyn has done so much more for the Games.
She has served in registration, as a swimming timer, with opening ceremonies dinner, has processed athlete entry forms, answered phones at the office and helped with all the odd other “stuff”.
Evelyn explains why – “I knew immediately upon hearing about the Senior Games that this is something I wanted to be involved in. It was not easy to find the right person to offer my services, so I would just show up and help where needed.”
Dietrich, Lampbrecht - Oceanside, CA
Let’s see – 36 gold & 10 silver medals at the Huntsman World Senior Games, 25 National titles, 7 World titles. Welcome to the world of Dietrich Lampbrecht. These numbers are even more amazing when you realize all of this was accomplished after the age of 58 and after being out of cycling for 40 years.
World War II, war wounds, prison camp and putting together a life and a family after immigrating to the U.S. in 1967 occupied Dietrich’s life for those 40 years. It also kept him from cycling.
But the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles and his German cycling friends rekindled his love for cycling. And the rest is history!
Ben Lott - St. George, UT
If the talk is about Track & Field in Southern Utah, eventually Ben Lott’s name will come up in the conversation somewhere. Ben has been the face of the sport for a long time.
His value to the Games has gone beyond his years as assistant to Ken Christensen and Ken Jolley. It also goes beyond his 11 years as our Track & field Director and it goes beyond his recent years as our Special Assistant of Track & Field.
While the respect this event has is in large part a result of Ben’s hard work and tireless efforts, Ben is best at giving the hugs and smiles that have encouraged and welcomed the athletes and volunteers for years.
Gary Measom - Spanish Fork, UT
Start with the letters – many of them. They all are different stories, but they all have the same message – “the Huntsman World Senior Games health screenings saved my life.” Now it may or may not be a bit of a stretch to talk about a medical screening saving a life.
But it is not a stretch to say the work and dedication of Dr. Measom and the student nurses at UVSC have made a difference in people’s lives.
His hard work to healthy life styles among seniors and his hard work toward making our health screening program effective cannot be measured by fast times or gold medals.
John Peters - Ivins, UT
Yes, he is a participant – for 19 years and counting. But his work and dedication as a sports coordinator and softball scheduler is what makes John Peters a standout.
For 13 years, John has coordinated various sports - softball, basketball, road races, basketball shoot, bridge, track & field, table tennis and square dance. But his greatest achievement is in making and keeping a 4,000 player, 330 team tournament the largest and best in the world.
It might sound simple enough. But try scheduling 1,000 games on 16 fields over 11 days. Oh, also do it in 42 divisions - that is like 42 small tournaments within one huge tournament.
Carol Simillion - St. George, UT
Let’s have a gift shop. Ok. Shall we sell shirts, hats, jackets or mugs? What style? What color? What sizes? The list goes on - How many? What logo do we put on it? How much do we sell it for? How do we display it?
You know, running a gift shop is not an easy deal. But Carol Simillion has done it for a long time – and she has done it very well.
Carol is a master at recruiting volunteers to help her. Around the middle of August product starts to roll in and the tagging and the labeling and the pricing starts in earnest and Carol masterminds it all.
Sid Smith - Salt Lake City, UT
He hasn’t been the only one to win 48 medals in the Games, but he has won 48 medals. He wasn’t the only one in our very first commercial in 1987, but he was in it. He isn’t the only one to hold Huntsman World Senior Games records, but he does still hold one.
He isn’t the only one to have participated every year since the Games began, but he has participated every year. He may not be the only one in the Toastmasters International HOF, but he is in it.
Sid Smith has been a fixture at our road races and track & Field events from the beginning. And he has excelled. He has also been a master promoter of the Games everywhere he has gone.
SunRiver St. George - St. George, UT
Let’s count the ways SunRiver St. George supports the Games:
- Use of Pickleball Courts
- Use of Lawn Bowls Course
- Use of Golf Facilities for Golf Skills
- Venue for Square Dance
- Site of Six Sport Socials
- Site of Huntsman World Senior Games Kick-off Dinner
Warning to Readers – This is not a complete list! To say the least, SunRiver's support has been impactful.
Gary Thayne - St. George, UT
As the Director of the Huntsman World Senior Games Triathlon, Gary chooses not to compete in it himself. That is good for the other competitors. They probably would struggle to keep up with him. Look at his running prowess: 30 marathons, 3 ultra marathons, several century (100 mile) bike rides, 8 Ride & Tie race (running & horse) and the Halls to Bullfrog (4 mile open water) swim in Lake Powell.
So, what about the triathlon? How about 3 Ironman (2 in Hawaii), St. George Triathlon, Utah Summer Games and Burley Spud Man – plus dozens of others.
But Gary runs one of the best triathlons around. Over his 12 years as Director, Gary has elevated our event to enviable status.
Cleon Tucker - North Salt Lake City, UT
Cleon can shoot the basketball. He can also play basketball. He can also long jump, high jump and throw the shot. Oh, and he can win sprint races, too. Cleon has been doing these this for a long time. In fact, he has done it long enough to accumulate 36 medals – mostly gold.
But Cleon Tucker also is one of the best promoters of the Games around. In fact, he has a standard answer for those who ask him how he keeps going: “I tell them I keep active, try to eat healthy and I participate in the Huntsman World Senior Games.”
Don’t know about those first two but the third reason seems pretty solid.
Joe & Belle Weight - Ramah, NM
When John Morgan wanted advice and help with his new project, the Senior Olympics, he turned to his friends Joe & Belle Weight. When Joe wanted to start a basketball event to showcase shooting skills, he went to John Morgan. Both decisions proved wise.
Joe & Belle became fixtures at the Games – competing (in tennis, basketball, swimming and table tennis among other things), assisting (wherever John needed help) and running the Basketball Shoot.
Their love for the Games and steadfastness was never better displayed than in 1996. Just a short time before the Games, Joe became ill and passed away. Less than a week after burying her husband, Belle was here running the Basketball Shoot. She simply said; “The Games go on.”
John Wunderli - Salt Lake City, UT
Before the Games existed John Wunderli was there to help with bylaws, insurance, legalities and general counsel. Once again, John Morgan had made a good choice in those he chose to help establish the Games.
Once the Games were established, John had more time to have a different impact on the Games – through his love for softball. He continues as a competitor in the Games.
It would be wrong to attempt to establish a list of John’s contributions to the Games – they are too numerous.