Fernie seniors dominated the cribbage at the BC Seniors Games last week.
Aki Kimoto, Joyce Letcher, Nellie Dunlap and Paul Eckstein headed to the games in Kamloops on Thursday, August 22, and came home with medals all round!
The Dunlap and Kimoto duo took gold and Eckstein and Letcher took bronze.
The four are regular cribbage players at the Fernie Seniors Centre, and have also all been to the BC Seniors Games several times – impressive, especially since all six teams from the region can qualify.
“We have to get ourselves there so it can be quite expensive, but luckily we have help from the Lions Club, 330 Club and other groups, plus a little bit from the government,” said Letcher. “So that helps.”
The four qualified for the games in Cranbrook at the end of April. About 100 seniors took part in cribbage, out of a total 3,200 at the Senior Games.
Cribbage was one of 24 competitions held around Kamloops as part of the Seniors Games, which aren’t as much a multi-sport event as a multi-event event. Included in the Games’ competition are bridge, cribbage and whist, all card games.
There also are other social/competitive happenings like horseshoes and darts, along with the usual sports – swimming, track and field, soccer and golf. But the Games are meant to include everyone, not just the athletic.
Reg Marcer, Dorothy Smith and Cindy Pace also headed to the games from Fernie for their cribbage skills. Although they didn’t win a medal, Smith still had a big success, when she got the hand of the day, with three fives and the king of spades. The upcard was another five, giving her 28 points. That’s one point short of the max, 29, a golden number in cribbage.
“I was like a celebrity,” she said. “I was interviewed by the paper, people were taking my picture, it was great!
“In one of the tournaments I got a 29,” said Smith, who got a laminated photograph of her 28. “That was my only one – they don’t come very easily.”
All the players agreed that the Seniors Games is part competitive, part social.
“It’s a really good time,” said Dunlap. “We meet a lot of interesting people and often see the same faces each year, so it’s great to catch up.
“There are some seniors there that are in their 90s.”
Smith, a lifelong player and 10-year competitor, agreed. “It’s social, but it’s competition,” she said. “Everyone enjoys doing this – that’s why they keep coming.”
Although luck is a big factor in cribbage, the best competitors have the ability to think ahead, and play the right cards at the right time.
Competitive cribbage features teams of two – any gender mix is welcome – with teammates set up across the table from each other, like in bridge. Each player is dealt five cards, with each disposing a card into the dealer’s crib.
Fifty teams from 10 zones showed up last week, allowing organizers to have a five-flight draw, picked at random but featuring one team from each zone. Each team played a round-robin of nine matches – involving three games up to 121 – and total points were tabulated at the end.
The teams with the top three point totals in each flight got medals. The gold medalists in each flight also competed in the championship round, a four-game round-robin.
Dunlap and Kimoto accumulated the most points, and won the tournament.