By Kevin Rushworth MULTIMEDIA EDITOR of the High River Times, AB
The mixed doubles shuffleboard tournament drew the sport’s enthusiasts from Canada and the United States to town earlier this month, but the association’s next goal is to bring the world to High River.
Ken Wardley, past-president with the Foothills Shuffleboard Association (FSA) said the tournament, which was hosted Aug. 3, 4 and 5, was a friendly, but competitive affair.
“This is our second mixed doubles tournament since we’ve been back,” he said. “We had a June singles tournament here this year. We’re very pleased to be back and the shufflers are happy too.”
Representatives with the shuffleboard association have witnessed greater levels of interest in the sport since the organization returned to the Bob Snodgrass Recreation Complex, Wardley said.
“In our regular play during the week, we’re always looking for people to come in,” he added, noting all ages are welcome and seasoned players will help teach floor shuffleboard to the newcomers.
Even as players visited High River from Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Missouri during the recent event, the next step is to welcome a whole other level of play.
The FSA, according to Wardley, will apply to the International Shuffleboard Association (ISA) for the International Shuffleboard Tournament to be held in High River in 2018.
Local members hope their bid is successful, Wardley said.
“I’m now starting to talk with the Town of High River to see what we can do, how we can do it and how much they will support this type of thing,” he explained.
If the event were to take place locally, it would bring shufflers from such places as Brazil, Japan, Australia, England, Russia, Germany and Norway to town, Wardley said.
“The biggest thing for High River is it would put us on an international scale,” he added.
This competition requires 24 courts, instead of the 12 installed at the recreation complex, Wardley said. He said the association is in touch with an individual who could install the additional courts.
Negotiations will be ongoing with town officials, but Wardley said the best outcome would be to have 12 courts in their regular play space and the extra boards in the nearby small rink.
He said members hope the town officials see the event’s economic benefit. Even though it hinges on a successful bid and municipal acceptance, the tournament would bring in 250 people, Wardley said.
Volunteer support would be crucial for the tournament if it went ahead, he said.
“When you put on an international event, you have to dress up the town of High River and the shuffleboard, so they get a good, positive feeling from what they see in (town),” Wardley said.
Regular league play occurs Monday and Tuesdays at 7 p.m. and Thursday mornings at 9:30 a.m. All ages are encouraged to attend and learn if they enjoy shuffleboard before paying the members fee.
Winners: As for the recent mixed doubles tournament, (pic at top) the winners from the championship round were Brian and Gina Bissillion from Edmonton, Alta. (First), Ken and Verena Wardley (Second), Bill Piet of Manitoba and Milly Mollow from Saskatchewan (Third) and Jim and Carroll Jackson of Blackie (Fourth).
“B” event winners are George and Melody Potter from Yahk, B.C. (First), Doug and Marg Mowat of High River (Second), Glen and Joyce Ponath from Caroline, Alta. (Third) and Merrill and Muriel Miller from North Battleford, Sask. (Fourth).
Winners from the “C” event are Doug and Marlene Cowling from Yorkton, Sask. (First), Willie and Nancy Neufeld of Turner Valley (Second), Gary and Sharon Metz from High River (Third) and Case Verdoold from Ponoka, Alta. and Laurie Carveth of Calgary (Fourth).
Stan speaks: I truly believe that the FSA (Foothills Shuffleboard Assn.) would be excellent hosts for the World Championship Shuffleboard Tournament of 2018!!! GO FSA, GO!!!