Hastings Service Groups Hold Their Own Olympics 1 Week Before Opening Ceremony

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HASTINGS, Neb. -- We are less than a week away from the start of the Olympics, a time when nations around the world come together. Saturday in Hastings, several groups came together to compete in their own games.

Dozens of people from four different service groups came out to the Hastings YMCA, paying $5.00 a game to take part.

"The money raising, really in this case, is a side show, it's just something you do whenever you hold an event. This is more about the comradery between the two clubs and with your own club members," said Jim Sharrick, from the Hastings Noon Sertoma Club.

And these athletes got their money's worth. Proceeds went to a cause close to their hearts.

"Anybody that registered, those registration fees went back to their club and so for Kiwanis our service project is the Eliminate Project. We are trying to eliminate maternal neonatal tetanus in poorer countries. Our fellow service clubs got to raise a little money for their own projects as well," said Gwen Ruppert, of the Hastings Noon Kiwanis Club.

Although they were competing Saturday, the groups all know they stand together for the same cause.

Ruppert said, "We do stand shoulder to shoulder in our community and even though we belong to different organizations, we are all doing great work in and around our community for mankind."

Much like the international Olympics, these games have been going on for years. And after taking a two decade hiatus, the same group that decided to bring it back took home this year's championship title.

"We think that it's been about 20 years since Hastings has had a Service Club Olympics so Kiwanis decided to resurrect it, and so the feeling was great and I think next year we're going to try and take home the championship once again," said Ruppert, who organized this years games.

Organizers said they hope to continue the tradition, and keep scheduling the games around the time the real Olympics take place.

"We're all swept up by the Olympics fervor that's going on right now and we feel that we could compete if we were in Sochi," joked Sharrick.