For Arkansas couple, traveling, Missouri State Senior Games go well together

Friday, June 10, 2011 | 7:35 p.m. CDT; updated 12:00 p.m. CDT, Thursday, June 16, 2011

COLUMBIA — It may have been the Missouri State Senior Games on Friday at the horseshoes pit at Cosmopolitan Park, but that didn’t keep visitors from other states from playing.

Some of the players hoped more people would have showed up for the horseshoes event, but the competitors came from five different states. The eight men and three women who participated represented Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, Arkansas and Washington.

Freddie Walker of Harrison, Ark., didn’t let the fact that no one else competed in her age group ruin her day.

“You don’t have to give me a medal," said Walker, who wore a red Razorbacks shirt and socks. "I just want to play. I just want to play someone other than my husband.”

Freddie Walker and her husband, Sheldon Walker, use her competitions to travel around the region and visit family and friends.

"We love coming up here," Freddie Walker said. "We come up through Springfield, where we've got two daughters and six grandchildren."

They also have family in Kansas City and Centralia and have a lot more fun on the road through their travels, she said.

"We get to go to all those different shows," Freddie Walker said. "Did you know, we went to see two Mickey Gilley shows in the last year, and all we had to do is bring a can of dog food?"

Freddie Walker competes in horseshoes and basketball, among other events, in competitions in Columbia, St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield and places in Oklahoma and Arkansas each year. She said she has been competing for the past 15 years and has won hundreds of medals in her age division. On Friday, she took home the gold medal in horseshoes for-in the 70 to 74 age group.

Sheldon Walker does not compete, but he said he enjoys all of the traveling and visits with family members along the way, as well as seeing people at the different competitions.

"He thinks it's like church," Freddie Walker said. "You see all of the same people every time."

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