CHEYENNE – An injury to a throwing shoulder would have been reason enough for most athletes to sit out of competition.
Not for Rick Westcott.
The 67-year-old who lives in Rawlins injured his right shoulder during a normal workout. Instead of bowing out of the Wyoming Senior Olympics, Westcott threw shotput and javelin left-handed.
He never thought of using the injury as an excuse to spend this summer on the sidelines.
“I think I still got second or third in shot put, but it doesn’t matter,” said Westcott, who also competed in bench press Friday. “Injuries are just part of the game.”
Westcott’s perseverance is no surprise to his wife, Karen, who also competed in weightlifting events Friday.
“If he can move, he is going to compete,” she said.
Karen Westcott also was nursing an injury that kept her from deadlifting as much weight as she is accustomed to. She contemplated sitting out bench press because she didn’t want to risk further injury, but Rick wasn’t willing to hear it.
“It doesn’t matter how much weight you lift; it matters that you’re out there doing it,” he said. “She asked me last night, ‘Doesn’t it bother you that you’re not going to be able to do 325?’ I told her it didn’t.
“To me, it’s not about the medals. It’s about getting out there and doing it.”
This is the Westcotts’ fourth time competing in the state’s Senior Games. They didn’t even know the competitions existed until an employee of the Rawlins Family Recreation Center saw how much Westcott was bench pressing and suggested he enter.
“It intrigued us, so we decided to give it a try,” Rick said. “It went pretty well that first year, so we have kept coming back.”
Westcott grew up on a ranch in rural
Missouri. Rick is the youngest of seven sons in a family with 11 children. He was drafted into the Army, where he served as a helicopter pilot.
Growing up doing ranch work and his five years
in the military helped shape his perspective on perseverance.
Athletics have always been part of his life, even when he was in the Army. Rick played various sports wherever he was stationed, and even coached junior high football and basketball at Mannheim Army Base in Heidelberg,
He is semi-retired after a career with the department of defense, which has opened up more time for his hobbies.
“I like working on old Jeeps and motorcycles,” Rick said.
Karen asked how many he has in their shop.
“You wouldn’t want to know,” Rick said with a laugh.