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85-year-old Wisconsin Senior Athlete Receives National Award: Donald “Don” Hoeppner

Sep. 28, 2016
Category: Recognition

National Senior Games Personal Best Award Promotes Fitness and Well Being

MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin, September 10 – The National Senior Games Association (NSGA) visited the swimming competitions for the 2016 Wisconsin Senior Olympics at Shorewood Recreation and Community Services VHE Community Pool to present a Personal Best Award to 85-year-old Don Hoeppner, who is described as “a man who never met a sport he didn’t like.”

Born in Milwaukee and a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Hoeppner owned an accounting business in Wauwatosa until eight years ago and now resides in Whitewater. He kept active while raising a family by playing softball and basketball, as well as taking leadership roles in Boy Scouts with his sons. He also founded the Tosa Little League in his town, which now has 600 young athletes involved.

Since 2013, NSGA’s Personal Best program has profiled athletes with wide-ranging stories that will inspire and motivate people to pursue healthy, active lifestyles. Hoeppner, the first Wisconsin athlete to be recognized, discovered Wisconsin Senior Olympics and the opportunity to qualify for the biennial National Senior Games while playing senior basketball. He has not missed any of the Wisconsin state games since then, playing in most of the sports offered. He has also qualified and competed in all but two of the national multi-sport championships ever held. He plans to play basketball and compete in track and field events at the 2017 National Senior Games presented by Humana next June 2-15 in Birmingham, Alabama.

“Our recognition program has profiled people from many backgrounds. We find that many decide to pick up a sport in midlife to enjoy greater health and the social experience,” NSGA CEO Marc T. Riker said. “Don has always stayed active and been involved in sports, which is reflected in the excellent quality of life he continues to enjoy. He inspires others of all ages to become more active to improve their own lives.”

An in-depth interview feature about Hoeppner and other athletes can be found on the Personal Best page at “This recognition program is intended to send a message out to aging adults to ‘get in the game’ and get the most out of their lives,” said Riker. “We’re not just recognizing Don. All senior athletes demonstrate that everyone can be their own personal best.”

“I am not the best of the best, but I sure do enjoy participating in all of these sports,” Hoeppner said. “You have to work at it, but to be able to do this and meet so many others doing the same thing is all worth it.”

NSGA is a nonprofit member of the United States Olympic Committee that promotes health and wellness for adults 50 and over through education, fitness and sport. NSGA governs the biennial National Senior Games and sanctions 53 member organizations across the country and Canada that host Senior Games or Senior Olympics to provide seniors with quality sports activity.


Don Hoeppner was presented a Personal Best Award by National Senior Games Association CEO Marc T. Riker, along with Wisconsin Senior Olympics President John White (left) and Executive Director Mollie Bartelt.

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