Camp Inn Park in Frostproof has a few Polk Senior Games players and Bob Brooks and Bob Kearns are two of them.
Brooks played three-on-three basketball in the state and national senior games with a team from the Cincinnati area. After moving to Camp Inn, he did not know about the Polk Senior Games until he read about it on the Bulletin Board at their park. They have been playing every year since 1999.
Brooks competes in basketball shooting, field events, pickleball, punt, pass and kick, badminton, track, road race and walking.
He has won nine trophies and 158 ribbons for his skills and talents. He is also on the Board of the Polk Senior Games and will be promoting the event to other parks in Frostproof.
“I have found while competing in Ohio and around in different states, that this is the best well-run games bar none, better than some of the state and national games I have been in.” he said. “With hundreds of volunteers and a good Board and Executive Director, Deena Wilbur, the games are well organized.”
In 1998 Kearns was sitting in church over weight and out of shape, he recalled.
“I was over 200 pounds and said something has to give or I am going to die,” Kearns said. “My pastor at church was a runner, and the pastor stated that there are several runners in church, why don’t we get T-shirts and go down and run the Indianapolis mini-marathon 13-mile race. I sat there in the pew and decided that’s what I was going to do. It has been 14 years and my goal is to run into my 80s.”
Kearns also has eight trophies and approximately 158 ribbons competing in field events, pickleball, punt, pass and kick, badminton, track, road race and walking.
One of his trophies was a “Stretch Award” that he received while running a 5K. In the last stretch of the race he heard a runner coming up from behind to pass him, so he started running harder but his legs gave out from under him and fell in the grass. He got back up without any help and finished 3rd place. They honored him with the trophy because of his determination to get up and finish the course.
Unfortunately, Kearns was traveling back to his home in the north and had a stroke while driving, causing him to have an accident. Because of all the confusion that the accident and stroke caused, seven years of ribbons stored in the trunk of his car were lost after the accident.
Both Brooks and Kearns greatly enjoy the games, camaraderie, competition and just having fun.
The Polk Senior Games is “ the highlight of my Florida trip,” stated Kearns.
Even after the stroke Kearns will still compete this year to the best of his ability.
They both urge others to get involved in the games and have fun.
For more information on the Polk Senior Games and how to get involved visit www. polkseniorgames.org.
Brooks and Kearns have been brothers-in-law for 53 years.
Kearns stated,“If it wasn’t for me, Brooks would not be here.”
Kearns was stationed in Germany with his family but his sister, Bonnie, was teaching in Kansas. Kearns convinced his sister by letter to come to Germany to teach, which she did. Brooks also was stationed in Germany at that time and met Bonnie at a Square Dance and wedding bells soon followed.
After retiring from teaching, Kearns and Brooks migrated to Florida for the winter and settled in Camp Inn.
May the games begin.