Marion Lamm has been attending the Orem Friendship Center for only a week, but that week has been more fun than she’s had in a long time and Friday’s Alpine Scooter Rodeo was the frosting on the cake.

“I get into these kinds of things,” Lamm said of the scooter event. “You just got to let it go. The more you let yourself go the more fun you have.”

Lamm, 72, of Pleasant Grove, went the extra mile with her rodeo costuming as well. She made and wore a leather jacket with the words “granny power, wild and free” on the back. She also sported a leather dog collar, wrist bands with biker gloves, a cowboy hat and a purple bandana.

The rodeo consisted of several seniors competing in a barrel race with motorized scooters provided by Alpine Home Medical.

Jake Broadbent, marketing agent with Alpine Home Medical, said the medical group wanted to do some kind of event for the seniors, but it needed a theme.

“We thought a rodeo would be fun with cowboy hats and bandanas,” Broadbent said. “We wanted to provide something fun and educational.”

The scooters were adorned with an old-fashioned stick riding horse. Riders could pick from one or two “horse-powered” vehicles. There were prizes for everyone.

The grand winner was Dave Squire coming in at 21.7 seconds, racing through three barrels and back in the activity room. He won an umbrella and gift card to Chuck-A-Rama.

There was one slight mishap when one of the scooter drivers came around the last barrel into the home stretch. The excitement in the room was too much and the senior driving got a little confused about how to stop the scooter.

It galloped right past the finish line and plowed into some lunch tables. Only a couple of people were knocked out of the way. There were no serious injuries.

Gena Bertelsen, director of the Friendship Center, said events like this are just normal occurrences, and she is excited about the special classes, programs and activities the center offers.

While she has seen a slight drop in lunch attendance, the activities and program attendance has grown.

“We currently have 3,300 in the roles,”Bertelsen said. “I have 459 seniors on average per day at the center.”

One of her better-attended classes is the computer course offered at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Bertelsen said.

Bertelsen also noted the most recent issue of Time’s Money Magazine chose Orem as the 13th best place to live in the United States.

“One of the reasons was the Friendship Center,” Bertelsen said.

Money Magazine touts Orem’s “Family City U.S.A.” theme as corny but valid.

“Located 45 miles south of Salt Lake City, the town features quality schools and day hikes easy enough for the little ones. A modest cost of living enables residents to stash money away for the college fund,” the magazine said.

“The family’s eldest members can find community at Orem Senior Friendship Center, which offers Tai Chi and Zumba,” the magazine added.

A 32-year veteran of covering news in Utah County, Genelle covers Provo, Orem, Faith/Religion, including the LDS Church and general assignments.

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