Seniors compete with remote-controlled forklifts: ‘Aging is a team sport’ – WCCO

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CARVER, MN (WCCO) “We do all we can to stay young. For seniors at the Carver Ridge Senior Living Facility, that means racing remote-controlled forklifts.

“We have huge crowds coming to watch. We’re going to cram about 30 people into this room,” said Jenna Larson, CSLF’s director of community life and wellbeing.

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It’s a packed house Thursday with a playoff atmosphere as residents gathered to cheer on the hometown River Rats. A lean and mean forklift racing team.

“Keep your cool, don’t panic. Everyone pay attention to me. You never know where I’ll be,” said 85-year-old runner Dave Overlund.

Every Thursday at 1 p.m., the River Rats virtually face another group of seniors from Minnesota and Wisconsin.

“It’s very competitive and you really have to be team-oriented to do that,” said Frank Glynn, who is also 85.

They use remote-controlled forklifts to pick up loads and place them around the arena. The first team to deliver all four loads to a new location wins the shift.

“It’s harder than it looks. You have to be seriously aware of whether you want to go forward or backward. Whether you want to turn left or right,” Overlund said.

(credit: CBS)

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While trying not to collide with your teammates.

“What I’ve learned in my career is that aging is a team sport,” said Dr. Bill Thomas, Medical Director of Lifespark.

Dr. Thomas invented the National Forklift Racing League to help seniors exercise their hand-eye coordination, while building camaraderie.

“A lot of people think of aging and old age in terms of what you can’t do. Forklift racing is about what people can do,” Dr Thomas said.

It turns out they can do a lot. There is a bit of high-level clack. And the crowd goes wild every time the River Rats pass.

“I thought it was fancy shuffleboard, so to speak. But after I got into it, it was really, really fun,” Overlund said.

The River Rats practice most weekdays at 1 p.m. and compete on Thursdays.

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Win or lose, ice cream bars are served after the competitions are over.

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