78-year-old record-holding athlete vaults in Belton

Channel 6 news reporter Kurtis Quillin reports.

BELTON - On the final Saturday in 2017, hundreds gathered inside the Bell County Expo Center.

Why?

Central Texans gathered to witness the Expo Explosion IX, one of the nation's largest pole vaulting meets, which is put on by the Texas Elite Pole Vaulting Club from Killeen.

"We started with 88 participants back in the day," Keith Martin said.  "We're up to 290 this year."

But in an arena filled with youth, collegiate, and Olympics stars, the brightest star in the building could be found in the Men's Masters division.

Don Isett, 78, is the world record holder for men ages 75-79.  He started vaulting in junior high and picked it back up at the age of 66.

Saturday, he won his age group -- again.

"It's just fun," Isett said.  "It's just fun and the people you meet enjoy it. We go to several meets a year and we know each other, we know their families."

On-the-rise vaulters looking on were inspired by Isett, no matter their vaulting experience.

"For them to keep pursuing their dreams at that age is encouraging," Logan Cunningham, a pole vaulter on the U.S. 2016 Olympic team, said.

Don even finds himself looking up to the Olympic vaulters, some of whom competed in Belton on Saturday, adding they'll give other vaulters helpful tips.

Because who knows, maybe one day, one of the Olympians will be vaulting for a lifetime... just like Don Isett.

© 2018 KCEN-TV


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