Veterans from 41 states are in the Des Moines area the next four days to compete in the National Veterans Golden Age Games. Event director Dewayne Vaughan says it’s an annual competition. Vaughan says it’s an “adaptive sporting event for veterans ages 55 and up.” He says they will have a little over 800 veterans competing, which will be a record for the fifth straight year in a row.

Vaughan says the veterans compete against each other in a variety of events. Vaughan says they have 14 different events from checkers and dominoes, to swimming, cycling, horseshoes, shuffleboard, 10-meter air rifle, shot put, discus, table tennis, golf. Vaughan says the purpose is to get the veterans to stay active.

Vaughan says keeping the veterans active extends their lives, as the physical training to prepare keeps their minds and bodies active and helps them live longer. He says they have several veterans participating that are over 90, with one that is 99 and one that is 98. Vaughan says some of the participants in the games in Iowa will move on to another competition.

He says they are competing for gold, silver and bronze medals and this year those who finish first, second or third, qualify in some sports to move on to the national senior games next year in Houston, Texas.

The opening ceremony for the National Veterans Golden Age Games was last night (Wednesday) at Veterans Auditorium in Des Moines. The events are taking place at various sites throughout the Des Moines metro area, including Hoover and Southeast Polk High schools. For more information, go on-line to: www.veteransgoldenagegames.va.gov.