IT WAS A GALA AFFAIR! SOME HISTORY by BOB PEARSON.
In the early days, back in the last century, the point system was a product of the St. Petersburg Evening Independent. To find out where one stood on the points list, it was necessary to obtain a copy of Monday’s edition of the Evening Independent and locate the Shuffleboard column edited by Dorothy Farewell. That column, intensely popular to all competitive shufflers, contained the points list and a synopsis of the past weeks tournament and often times photos. I might mention that back in those days, the points list was small compared to today’s lengthy list.
Later, in the 1970s, the point system was taken over by the Florida Shuffleboard Association (FSA) and points became significant for three reasons:
1 HALL OF FAME: SPORTSMANSHIP AND POLITICS OFTEN ENTERED INTO THE VOTING PROCESS AND APPROVAL FOR MEMBERSHIP IN THE HALL OF FAME WAS FAR FROM AUTOMATIC.
Points were the basic qualification to be nominated as a candidate for induction into the State HOF (Hall of Fame). A candidate had to have a total of 200 pro points, and have played at least 10 years. With these basic qualifications, an officer of the Association could nominate one candidate for consideration for membership into the HOF. Candidates so nominated were voted on at a regular meeting of the FSA. A maximum of two candidates could be approved for induction into the HOF. Some names were submitted several times before receiving enough votes to be entered. In recent years the schedules have been changed to permit split tournaments. This has created a situation whereby more players become eligible because there are more winners and more points were being distributed. With a limit of 2 players admitted per year, a back log built up, and changes to the rules were required. The time limit and the voting process were eliminated and the only requirement now is to accumulate 200 pro points. This is a difficult feat given to-day’s highly talented field of Pro players.
2 ROLL OF CHAMPIONS: THE AWARDS BANQUET WAS SHUFFLEBOARD’S GALA EVENT OF THE SEASON!!
The top 8 Men and the top 8 Women received gold medals and the next 7 Men and Women received silver medals. The medals were presented by a member of the St. Petersburg Evening Independent newspaper at the annual banquet. Medal winners were invited to the banquet and were allowed to bring one guest. It was Shuffleboard’s Gala Event of the Season. The Awards Banquet during this period was held at the Kapok Inn, Clearwater, FL >> a wonderful establishment with great food. The medal system prevails today but without the “hoopla”. The top 24 Men and Women are presented with medals before the Lakeland State Tournament held in December. The first 8 receive gold; the next 8 silver and the next 8 receive bronze.
3 THE MASTERS: SHORTLY AFTER THE POINT SYSTEM WAS TAKEN OVER BY THE FSA, THE DUNBARS “PICKED UP” THE MEDALS!!
Mr. Dunbar was a key person for many years in the management of Norton Abrasives. His wife Beulah was an opera singer and the Dunbars were a lovely couple that enjoyed watching and being involved with class shuffleboard. Beulah Dunbar always kept score on T8 where she had a ring side seat to watch the quality of play and in so doing became thoroughly acquainted with the players.
There were no special seating arrangements for the Masters. THIS PERIOD WAS THE “GLORY DAYS OF SHUFFLEBOARD!!
While the Masters was in progress, if you left your seat for just a minute, it was taken up immediately by someone else. Crowds gathered to watch the play especially when Mae Hall, Lou Tansky, Bob Litts, Web Smith, Bill Folberth and other great players were on the courts.
Beulah (Mrs. Dunbar) became so enthused and involved with the Masters that when she died, she left $100,000. in a trust fund for the continuation of the Masters at the St. Petersburg Courts. The Dunbars sponsored the Florida Masters tournament for many years held at the St. Petersburg Courts. The format for the Masters which is 8 men and 8 women was established because the 8 tournament courts in the front of the grandstand could accommodate all the matches with great seating privileges.
Bob Pearson, Hall of Fame Member and shuffleboard player since 1949 has supplied the historical information. (Bob is now deceased) BOB PEARSON LEAVES US 2007 10 08. – Copy
Stan McCormack and Earl Ball of THE SHUFFLER have “put the story together”.
THE SHUFFLER: Originally posted in 2007 01 05 . Reposted 2015 01 12
The 2015 FSA Banquet I/c HOF Inductions, will take place on 2015 01 19 at the Rodeway Inn, 2440 West State Road 84, Fort Lauderdale, FL. (17:30)