Medals acknowledge competitors’ passion at Senior Games horseshoes

William Cannon, 86, tightly holds horseshoes, getting ready for his turn to throw on Friday at Cosmo Park. Cannon said he has been competing in the horseshoe toss ever since he came for the first Senior Games. Cannon said he gives his medals to volunteers of other events to remind them of the importance of keeping healthy.

COLUMBIA — William Cannon added another medal to his collection in horseshoes at Cosmo Park on Friday afternoon. He has taken part in the Senior Games since 1988 and won countless medals. This time, he came in second place.

“How many medals did I win? I’m not bragging, but I have won over 3,000 medals from Senior Games and Masters Swimming Games,” the 86-year-old Cannon said.

Cannon was one of the seven participants in the event at the Games this year, and all were awarded medals in various age brackets. After competing for an hour in scorching heat, the sweat was rolling off their faces, but the clinking sound of horseshoes never stopped.

“It’s fun,” Cannon said, “and you should make this fun.”

The medal Cannon received Friday is not likely going to be in his hands very long. Cannon said he gives most of his medals to volunteers and young people as a reminder of the life lesson he has cherished.

“I tell them, ‘I want you to keep this medal. If anybody offers you any contraband, think about all of us here, over 50 years of age,'” Cannon said.

“How do we get here? We have been taking care of our health, being active and doing things.”

Cannon said he was also going to take part in other events later in the afternoon, including basketball, football and washers. It was not only him. The seven rushed to their next events after receiving their medals from horseshoes, showing their great ardor for the Games.

“We can do weightlifting, running and cycling,” Cannon said. “You think, ‘Oh, my gosh. They over 50 years old, and they all can do this?’ It opens the eyes of the youth.”

Horseshoes competitors came from all different areas of the state to take part in the event. Cannon drove two hours from Ballwin, Missouri, early Friday morning. The journey was rather delightful for Cannon.

“The point of the Senior Games is the camaraderie at the Games and the wonder of making new friends,” said Chrissy Arnold, volunteer from Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services.

Cannon said, for him, the Senior Games are not about winning the medal; it’s about being there, taking part in the Games with others.

“Even if I came here in sixth place, I would feel like I’m a winner,” Cannon said, “because I’m here.”

Supervising editor is Pete Bland.

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