As a kid growing up on a farm outside of Napavine, Leonard Krause remembers running through his family’s fields, laughing as he ran.
Now 95, Krause is back on the family farm after living in California for some 30 years, and he still loves competing. That’s why Krause, with his inspiring “I can still do this” attitude, is going to be competing in this month’s .
Krause, with his favorite bowling ball, will be competing in the bowling competition, hoping to win another age bracket title. He’ll also be throwing the discus and shot put, hoping to break another record. When Krause competed in the shot put last year, he tossed the eight-pound ball 19 feet and 2 inches, beating the record of his friend and rival George Rowswell of Olympia.
“Poor old George, I took away his records,” Krause says with a chuckle.
As for bowling, Krause’s league average this year was 166 with a couple of 200-plus games.
When asked why he was still in such good shape, Krause has a simple answer.
“Well, I was raised up on a farm,” he explains. “My first 18 years was living on a farm. I had a good start there. There wasn’t much to do in those days except work.”
With there always being chores to do, Krause developed a good work ethic. Besides the good work ethic that he developed living on a farm, he also never developed any bad habits.
“No smoking or drinking,” adds Krause, who graduated from Centralia High School in 1939 back when Franklin Roosevelt was president of the United States.
With this year’s Washington State Senior Games being a qualifier for nationals, there’s going to be about 2,000 participants total competing in the 24 events that will be held throughout the South Sound.
Krauss’s son, Leonard Krause, has always been impressed by his dad’s competitive drive.
“He really enjoys competing in things,” the younger Krause said. “Especially in bowling. He’s got lots of bowling trophies. You wouldn’t believe all the bowling trophies he has. Tons of them.”
The younger Krause used to bowl, but now at age 57 he’s put away the old bowling ball.
“I don’t bowl anymore,” Leonard says. “I was never even close to being as good as my dad. He’s still bowling good.”
In preparation for the upcoming senior games, the older Krause has been practicing throwing the discus his son bought him. He’s also been mowing his lawn and walking at Wal-Mart.
“The way my dad is going, he’s going to be competing in the 100-year-old group,” the younger Krause says.
The goal of the senior games is to keep seniors active.
“We want to encourage seniors to get off the couch,” says Jack Kiley, president of the Washington Senior Games for the past 12 years. “Get them involved in nutrition and exercise.”
Hopefully it’s a way to hook someone into a sport they played in high school or college. There are an impressive 24 options, ranging from softball to pickleball to golf.
“We hope that we’re contributing to an active senior community that is then more concerned about having a better quality of life and better health,” Kiley says. “That’s where we want to go.”
There’s a social element to the games, too. It’s also a way of meeting people. Camaraderie and companionship are big elements.
There’s an event for nearly everyone, no matter what your skill set is. So there’s no excuse not to sign up. There’s archery, basketball, badminton, bowling, cowboy action shooting, cycling, dance, golf, pickleball, power walking, race walking, racquetball, 5K and 10K runs, rock climbing, shuffleboard, soccer, softball, swimming, table tennis, tennis, track, trap shooting, triathlon and volleyball.
Krause has two daughters and one son, but he has no grandchildren. Krause thinks that fact has actually helped keep him up and going.
“That’s what’s keeping me young at heart,” he says with a chuckle. “Nobody’s calling me old grandpa.”
Krause has stayed young at heart by doing, by getting up and ignoring that inner voice that says “You’re too old to do that.” He’s become an inspiration.
And as he competes in bowling and track in the coming weeks, he’s hoping to be a winner. Again.