Sebring Open Shuffleboard Tournament, by Neil Simpson
On Tuesday, Nov 28th, 42 shufflers gathered at the Sebring Rec Center for a full day of shuffleboard. Amateurs and pros were paired and switched partners in each of their six games. Harold Comeau, President of the Sebring Recreatoon Club since April, said that this used to be a tournament for players within the county but has been opened up to anyone. Both the Sebring and Avon Park clubs host a similar tournament each month.
The tournament attracted a group of six shufflers from Buttonwood Bay with three of their pros finishing in the top six.
Gloria Tipsword of Orange Villa was playing in her very first tournament, accompanied by her husband Lloyd who had played in a previous tournament. Tipsword says she’s been playing for two years and is already addicted. Winnie Wells, a 92 year old pro from Avon Park says you would starve if you depended on the meager earnings from shuffleboard. Mary Temoke, in her second year of shuffling, drove down from Lake Wales to compete.
Dan Noble, Tournament Director, pointed out that the number of wins determined the champs with ties broken by the total number of points scored. Each game was worth a maximum of 100 points but only points from wins were tallied.
At the end of the day, the top six amateurs and top six pros were announced.
Amateurs: 1st Bruce Shidler, 2nd Phil Martin, 3rd Gene Tomlinson, 4th Gary Sorko, 5th Don Fredley, 6th Lloyd Tipsword.
Pros: 1st John Bushee, 2nd Tom Lauritzen, 3rd DeWayne Reneick, 4th David Birchfield, 5th Roy Briegel, 6th Edith Taylor, the only lady to make it to the winners circle.
On December 4th, Avon Park will host the Juanita Harlow US National Shuffleboard Tournament. Juanita, now 90, had quite a history in shuffleboard. At one point, after having six operations, three hips and a period of time when she had to rely on a walker, Juanita gave advice that everyone would be well advised to heed. “We must be powerful, not pitiful and we must be better, not bitter.” Juanita won’t be able to attend but her inspirational story will be recounted to all present.
As this amateur doubles tournament, the winning partners each have the chance to earn a coveted National Pin, awarded to the winners of national tournaments. A shuffler can only ever win one National Pin.
On January 15, 16 and 17 some 200 shuffleboard enthusiasts are expected for the Florida Hall of Fame Shuffleboard Tournament to be held at the Sebring Recreation Club.
The 2018 Heartland Games shuffleboard tournament will be held at the Avon Park Seniors Activity Center on February 6.
With the snowbirds back, there is plenty of action on shuffleboard courts at many of the manufactured home parks in the area as well as at the Sebring Recreation Club and the Avon Park Seniors Activity Center. The Avon Park club will offer free shuffleboard at 6:00 p.m. on Monday evenings beginning December 11. Local shuffleboard players would be happy to welcome newcomers and help them to develop their skills and a love of the game.
Story and photos by Neil Simpson. 2017 11 30. (BIG THAN-YOU TO NEIL SIMPSON!!)