Stettler’s Fred Bozek returns from seniors’ games sporting three new medals

Attracting thousands, the Huntsman World Senior Games are held each October in St. George, Utah

Stettler resident and avid baseball player Fred Bozek has much to be proud of following a two-week stint at the Huntsman World Senior Games in St. George, Utah.

“I love it. And I try to tell the kids, when people are quitting ball at 25 or 30 years of age – hey, keep going!”

This year marked Bozek’s 15th year heading to the Games, and he brought home both a silver and a gold medal.

“It was also a special year in that I got my Huntsman World Senior Games 15-year ring,” he said, adding that in five years, he will be in line to receive an engraved gold watch.

“So I’m looking forward to that – by then I’ll be 82. There are guys there who are 90 to 94 years-of-age who are still playing ball!”

Other categories of sport at the Games run the gamut from volleyball and basketball to golf, horseshoes and pickleball.

For Bozek, his passion for baseball stretches back to when he was just 10.

The appeal largely stems from being part of a team. “It’s the team spirit. To win medals, you’ve got to have teamwork. One person can’t win it – it’s got to be teamwork.”

As a younger fellow, it also helped to keep him out of trouble, he added with a laugh.

“I tell kids, when you play ball, you have no time to get into drugs or mischief because to play ball, you have to keep your wits about you,” he said. “I emphasize to everyone – stay with sports and you will never go wrong.

“I’m sure that had I quit playing ball, I might not be here today. It’s life-changing. It’s unbelievable – and I really mean that.”

Altogether, he has collected three gold medals, six silvers and one bronze with the two teams he’s been a part of over the years at the Games.

Mainly, he played with the Pals – a team he signed on with 15 years ago.

“Then I’ve played with the 75-plus these past few years, in a team called the Muggn’z,” he explained.

The Huntsman World Senior Games, as it is known today, began in 1987 as the World Senior Games, an international senior sports competition, according to the web site.

More than 20,000 attend the Games. And this month, there were 450 ball teams taking part.

They are categorized in age increments of five (50-plus, 55-plus all the way up to 89-plus). In fact, there are very fit 90-year-olds hitting the ball diamonds that could very well beat some local 40-year-olds, he added with a laugh.

The Games were founded by Daisy and John H. Morgan, Jr.

“Both agreed that the golden years were better when good health and physical fitness became a way of life, not an occasional hobby,” notes the web site.

Meanwhile, the Games play host to 30 athletic events each October, attracting athletes from Japan to Russia and from Alaska to Australia.

Of course, it’s not just about the friendly competition.

“Band concerts, dances, and awards socials for each sport are also part of the package, bringing athletes and guests together in a social atmosphere where they share in, and congratulate each other for, their achievements. This important aspect of the Games emphasizes the celebration of success for all participants, whether or not they win a medal.”

For Bozek, the annual trek south has brought such joy to his life.

And he’s quick to encourage others to get onboard.

“Anyone can do it. But if you are going to be playing ball, you had better be a good sport, and get along with your teammates. I’ve played ball with guys who were very good ball players but didn’t have any sportsmanship.

“But I would advise anyone to get involved. You don’t have to be the best ball player – just get in there and have heart and give it your best shot.”

And even though you join teams at the Huntsman Games where you don’t know the bulk of the players, it isn’t long before a tight-knit camaraderie is formed.

That in itself is something that helps to draw Bozek back to St. George year after year.

“You meet friends for a lifetime.”


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mother, daughter event focuses on family connection

Unstoppable Mother Daughter Night Out: A fun evening for girls

Hearts for Hospice Dine and Dance: Lively fundraising event set for Feb. 8th

Event will feature live band, catered meal, silent auction, and much more

‘Gowns for Grads’ makes a milestone day more special

Initiative collects donated gowns for Central Alberta students preparing to graduate

Accused man in Stettler death seeking legal aid

Nicholas Johnson’s next court appearance is set for Feb. 13th

Synchronized Skating National Qualifying Event hosted in Red Deer Alberta Jan. 25th-26th

The 2020 Mountain Regional Synchronized Skating Championships are part of the National qualifying system

VIDEO: Feds look to help 126 Canadians quarantined in China for coronavirus

China has confirmed more than 4,500 cases of the new virus, with more than 100 deaths

Landowner hearings begin for Trans Mountain expansion in Alberta

Detailed route talks start in Spruce Grove, in B.C. communities soon

UPDATE: Sylvan Lake RCMP say missing female located

19-year-old Alyssa Manderville was last seen in Blackfalds on Jan. 26

Ryan Jake Applegarth, 27, charged with First Degree Murder

RCMP Major Crimes Unit seeking male wanted on first degree murder charge

Watch out for scams, clickbait in the wake of Kobe Bryant’s death: Better Business Bureau

Kobe Bryant and his daughter were killed in a helicopter crash near Los Angeles

Despite reports of decline, birds flocking to national parks in Canadian Rockies

Recent studies suggest overall bird population has slid by three billion since 1970

Pregnant B.C. woman stuck in Wuhan, the epicentre of coronavirus outbreak

Woman is due to give birth in Wuhan, China unless she can get out

Majority of Canadian boards had no female members in 2016 and 2017: StatCan

Statistics Canada says 18.1 per cent of director seats were held by women in 2017

VAUGHAN: Childhood heroes like Kobe are supposed to be immortal

Kobe Bryant tragically passed away in a helicopter crash that claimed the lives of nine people

Most Read