A HEALTHY mix of fun, camaraderie and good old competitive spirit is the winning combination of the popular Lismore Workers Club Masters Games, which kicks off today for three days of sporting excitement.
More than 1500 players will join the fun, from as far away as Victoria, Dubbo and the Sunshine Coast.
The event brings well over $1 million to the local economy, with most local motels and hotels fully booked out, and a roaring trade at pubs clubs, cafes and restaurants.
Twelve sports are on offer this year - baseball, cricket, dressage, golf, hockey, lawn bowls, netball, Oztag, 8-ball pool, soccer, softball and touch football.
Local cricketer and keen swimmer Michael Mansfield has competed at the biennial event since the inaugural Masters in 1999.
"Knowing I'm competing every year gives me the motivation to keep training," Mr Mansfield said.
He said the highlight was pretty simple: "Still being able to play at my age. I'm very thankful I can keep doing it."
"I've also met a lot of nice people and made many friends over the years. It's great camaraderie."
Touch football player Lindsay Johnston, from Old Bonalbo, said many of his competitors had the "the same mindset and desire to win" as when they were younger.
"But the joints aren't as good," he joked.
"They're not 20 any more."
Lismore City Council tourism co-ordinator Mitch Lowe said Lismore's excellent sporting facilities and beautiful location helped the event become a success story.
"When we first started in 1999 there would have been a Masters games in most regional cities. Lismore's one of the few which has stood the test.
"We've had many comments from people saying these are the best games.
"Of equal importance as the sport is also the socialising. The hours after the match are just as important as the match itself."