15 July 2021
What an amazing evening of celebration, athletic accomplishment and stories! The 2021 WSO Opening Ceremonies and Hall of Fame Celebration kicks off this year's games. Over 100 people attended the event held at the Bavarian Bierhaus to help launch this year's athletic events.
Keynote Speaker Chuck Nagle, Milwaukee native and UW Big Ten basketball player, shared anecdotes of his sports career. His humble words of playing at the highest collegiate level as well as coaching youth today in basketball struck a chord with the audience.
Then, the newest athletes were inducted to the WSO Hall of Fame. For the first time, a team was selected for induction. All inductees spoke a few words and the Handeland Team honored their team sponsor by announcing a $1,000 donation to a veteran's charity in his name.
Wolfgang Arlt has been competing in the WSO since his retirement in 1994, more than 25 years ago. He competes in badminton and powerwalk and has won 38 gold medals over the years.
His love for badminton has taken him to twelve National Senior Games as well as to other states. His impressive NSGA medal account includes niine gold medals, seven silver medals and two bronze medals. He’s also won gold medals in the Illinois and Indiana Senior Games. Wolfgang has served as the Wisconsin flag bearer during the national senior games. Working to promote the Wisconsin Senior Olympics, Wolfgang has passed out flyers at his local YMCAs, senior centers and throughout the badminton community.
With quite a reputation in the national senior badminton community, Wolfgang has also won numerous championships in the USA Badminton Midwest Championships, USA Masters National Championships, and the Senior International Championships.
The game of tennis has been a large part of Deborah Burgess’ life. Her high school career as a tennis player earned her three letters in that sport and three letters in basketball. She went on to excel in both of those sports at UW-Whitewater. The highlights of her college career included being named captain of the women’s tennis team and in 1977 “UW-Whitewater Tennis Sportswoman of the Year.” In1993, she was inducted into the UW-Whitewater Athletic Hall of Fame.
She began competing in Wisconsin Senior Olympics in 2007 and still competes today. In addition to tennis singles, doubles and mixed doubles, she also competes in basketball and badminton. Her current WSO medal total is nineteen gold and one silver.
Wisconsin has been well represented by Deborah in six consecutive NSGA games spanning ten years. Her medal count at the National level includes seven gold and four silver, all in the sport of tennis.
As a participant in the WSO for more than 20 years, Paul Milewski specializes at the sprint races in the track and field competition. He competes in and has gold medals in the 50, 100 and 200 meter runs. Spanning two decades, he has set WSO records in those distances and has competed in 10 National Senior Games.
His accomplishments at the NSGA are highlighted by 15 ribbons, two individual medals and seven relay medals. The 2013 Cleveland games proved to be very successful as he was on the winning 4x100 relay team that set a NSGA record.
In addition to participating in our games, Paul has also competed in 42 USATF meets, including the prestigious Drake Relays and the Penn Relays. He has offered his time as an assistant track coach for two local high schools. He is currently retired and continues to train for track and field events.
Handeland Flooring Softball Team
Meet the Handeland Flooring Team, a group of men who have been competing around the United States for nearly 30 years together with the support of Dennis Handeland, founder of Handeland Flooring. While a former player and pitcher in his younger days, Dennis concentrates on supporting the WSO softball team, among others, so that more can enjoy and compete in the sport.
Team members include: Al Alt, Ron Bruce, Mike “BI” Baehman, Carl Budnik, Paul Cox, Ron Danoski, Don Derivan, Bill Dolphin, Dennis Ermi, Mike Ernst, Kenny Gilpin, Wayne Fiedler, Bert Hempler, Phil Higgins, Terry Hosveth, Greg Hudack, Greg “Buck” Lauer, Gary Luck, Brad “Doc” Mueller, Rich Olson, Lance Riddell, Jim Schevers, Bernie Schmidt, Chuck Skellett, Wayne “Stubby” Stapleford, Cy Swiecichowski, Bob Szaniawski, Terry Teske, Paul Wenzel, and Tim Whiting.
The Handeland Flooring team holds gold medals won at the Wisconsin Senior Olympics including for 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. They have a total of seven gold medals, two silver medals and one bronze medal won over the years. They have also represented Wisconsin at the National Senior Games winning silver in 2001, fourth place in 2015 and gold medals in 2017 and 2019, competing in the 65 to 69 age bracket. They are the first Wisconsin team to win back-to-back National Senior Games Championships.
Managed by Ron Bruce and Tim Whiting, the team has won championships with the USSA, the SSUSA (Eastern Division, Mid-Western Division, Northern Division, Winter Nationals), SPA Nationals, ISSA Nationals, ISA Nationals and NSA Nationals. They have competed in the Huntsman World Senior Games in Utah earning 3 gold medals, one silver medal and two bronze medals.
Dennis’s passion and commitment to softball goes beyond this WSO softball team. Over the years, Dennis has also sponsored teams that won the very coveted Milwaukee Muni Tournament Championship and Milwaukee County Championship Tournaments. Back in the day, hundreds of players in dozens of leagues competed in these games, and Ron Bruce mentions that it’s the epitome of playing softball in Milwaukee to have won one of these titles much less both. Men have played their entire career and never won a city or county championship.
Dennis’s children and grandchildren play softball and he’s there supporting those kids as well. . . helping to pass on the tradition of competition and sportsmanship to the future.
Join us at the 2021 Ryder Cup Golf Tournament at Whistling Straits in Sheboygan where WSO Volunteers will be manning the Starbucks Welcome Tent!
Held at the Bavarian Bierhaus, this year's Opening Ceremonies and Hall of Fame event returns for a great evening of stories and camaraderie.
It’s a reminder to visit your local park to see what is going on!