By LISA WHALEY
They’ve done it again.
Jonesborough Senior Center’s Old Towners once again took home the top prize in last week’s state Brain Games competition.
And they couldn’t be more excited.
“It was tough. It was tough,” local senior and two-time Brain Game winner Mike Willis kept repeating with excitement after the Old Towners victory had been announced. “I’m in shock.”
Fellow team member Carol Salinas was just as excited. “I didn’t hear the score, so I had no idea what it was,” Salina said delightedly, if a little dazed. “For a little bit, I was hoping during the last double down we had done pretty well.”
Still, she said, she didn’t really expect the win.
Salinas, Willis and Joe Allision beat three other Tennessee senior teams in the 5th Annual Tennessee Senior Brain Games event, held Thursday, Oct. 19, at the McKinney Center in downtown Jonesborough.
The teams included the Morristown Senior Gamers from East Tennessee, the Lawrence County Aged to Perfection from Middle Tennessee and the Tipton County Know Brainers from West Tennessee.
Jonesborough’s Old Towners were on hand to defend their 2016 Brain Games Championship.
“This thing gets bigger and bigger every year,” said Jim Shulman, executive director of Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability, to the filled auditorium at the McKinney Center.
The game followed the same basic format as last year. Teams would compete in four rounds of questions. Extra points could be earned in the final “double-down” round. There were also a few five-point bonus questions scattered throughout the competition.
Topics ran the gamut from celebrity to science and ornithology.
At the end of the secound round, Jonesborough lagged behind, third in the pack with a score of 51 against Morristown at 41, Tipton at 55 and Lawrence at 56.
By the close of the third round, Jonesborough had moved to second place with 76 points, behind Lawrence County with 84.
“It was very close,” Senior Center Director Mary Sanger said. “Last year they had a 36 lead.” This year, it came down to the difference of one question.
Final score for the 2017 Brain Games was Jonesborough 108, Lawrence County 106, Tipton County 101 and Morristown 85.
“Oh my gosh, I’m beyond thrilled,” Sanger said. “We’ll host it again. Rachel (Conger) and I are already discussing how we can make it bigger.”
Town Administrator Bob Browning was also excited for the center and the town. “This means they’re coming back,” he said with a broad smile. “They’re even talking about doing a two-night thing next year because it’s so hard for some of the teams to come all that distance.”
For Jonesborough’s Old Towners, however, next year is a long way off. They’re just enjoying basking in the now.
“I really don’t know what to say,” Joe Allison said, still grinning moments after the win. “I’m still in shock. Last year put us on the map, and this year kind of put the stamp on it.”