Wilma Rudolph; Player Extraordinaire!! “The First Lady of the US Nationals”

1st USNAT. NC Ellen Hensley & WilmaWilma Rudolph has won 32 national championships, including four so far this year, as of 2015 09 02.  She won the ladies’ national singles in Texas for the second year in a row  and won all three national events (singles, doubles and mixed) in Ohio this past July.

In the pic above we have Wilma on the right with partner Ellen Hunsley.  Event: Ladies Doubles Trophy for the US Nationals at Hendersonville in 2014.  Wilma and Ellen will partner again in 2015.  

Red Rudolph speaks: When we first went down to Texas for the winter, I became involved in shuffleboard right away because my dad was the shuffleboard chairperson at the RV park where we first lived.  Wilma was more enthusiastic about pool and had joined a ladies’ pool league that played on Tuesday mornings.  I started playing in the RGVSA men’s doubles tournaments with a fellow from the park.  However, most of our Texas tournaments are mixed doubles and the amateur division plays on Tuesdays.  So, Wilma was unwilling to give up her pool to play mixed with me.  Finally, at the end of the 1995-1996 season, I saw on the schedule that a non-trophy tournament was going to be held on a Wednesday.  This tournament is held each year and is open to amateurs who have never won a trophy.  So, I persuaded her to go and we ended up winning the second-place trophy.  That got her more enthused about shuffleboard.  She gave up her pool league the following season and started playing with me early in the season.  She was still working afternoons for a CPA firm during tax season at that time, so she could only play November, December and the first part of January.  That went on for two seasons and we won a couple of trophies, but nothing spectacular.

I found out about the Ohio tournaments in 1997 and we started playing there in the summer of 1998, where she made instant expert.  After playing all summer, we got off to a great start in Texas, winning the first four amateur mixed doubles that season.  Wilma got permission from her boss to take Tuesday afternoons off and work Saturdays to make up the time, so we got to play all season in 1998-1999.  Wilma placed in the final four of the Texas Masters that year as an amateur and earned more than enough points to move up to expert the following season.

The rest, as they say, is history.  Wilma has earned more points than any other player in the history of Ohio shuffleboard (1,206) or Texas shuffleboard (2,242).  She has served on the TSSA Board of Directors for six years and was RGVSA President for two terms.  She has been the Texas National Delegate for several years.  She started the Texas shuffleboard web site in 2000 and has served as webmaster for a total of ten years.  She helped Jim Clayton start the Ohio shuffleboard web site in 2001 and has served as webmaster for a total of eight years.  She also served on the OSSA Board of Directors for two terms.  Wilma has served as webmaster for the National Shuffleboard Association for several years as well.  

Together, we started the Western Valley Shuffleboard Association and she has run WVSA tournaments every week during the Texas shuffleboard season for the past eight years.  We also started a similar organization for the Eastern Valley in Texas three years ago.  Wilma does web sites for both of those organizations.  As you know, she also started the RGV Shuffleboard Facebook group, which has been very popular among the Texas players.  She also started a similar group for the USA NSA and the WVSA.  She has also served as ISA Treasurer for more than two years.

So, you can see that I think she is pretty special – a very talented player and an extremely intelligent, hard-worker all in one package.

Sent along by Red Rudolph at my request:  2015 09 04.  You may wish to go here to see the number of “National” points Wilma has accumulated!  An astounding 618. http://www.national-shuffleboard-association.us/pdf/Lifetime%20Points%20Ranked.pdf

Posted from Prince Edward Island by Stan McC. 2015 09 08

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8 Responses to Wilma Rudolph; Player Extraordinaire!! “The First Lady of the US Nationals”

  1. And in 6 weeks this fine lady will be inducted into the ISA Hall of Fame for recognition earned among our 8 member Nations. You go girl !

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  2. What an accomplishment Wilma! You are an extremely talented player and a wonderful person also!

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  3. THE RUDOLPHS ARE BOTH GREAT PLAYERS BUT MORE THAN THAT THEY ARE FINE PEOPLE WHO HAVE MADE EXTRAORDINARY CONTRIBUTIONS TO SHUFFLEBOARD ALL ACROSS THE USA.I AM PROUD TO CALL THEM MY FRIENDS

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  4. Dale Monday, President ASA District I says:

    Yes she is a wonderful person and a very great asset to the shuffleboard family. I am very pleased to call Wilma and Red my friends. Congratulations Wilma on your upcoming induction into the ISA Hall of Fame.

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  5. Pingback: Wilma Rudolph | Hemet West Shuffleboard

  6. Pingback: Wilma Rudolph | California Shuffleboard Association

  7. Congratulations Wilma. It was our pleasure to meet and play with you and Red in Canada and again in Texas. We hope to see you in California some day.

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  8. Beth Allen says:

    Congratulations on your many accomplishments, Wilma!!

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