Shufflin' | District Open Masters played smoothly

Special to the HeraldApril 2, 2013 

A feature of the 2013 District Masters, new in 2012, involved skill shots as reported last week in the amateur Masters.

The Open Masters had one additional qualifier. The skill shot had to be directed toward the far side of the board. Sevens or eights only counted if shot to the side away from the shooter. Kitchens and tens counted anywhere, but an 8 or 7 only counted if it were a double shot toward the far side. Further refinement is possible for next year, but this year saw several ties broken, some by only one point difference from skill shots recorded after each three-game match.

n Placing first in the Ladies Division was Flo Kowalewski. Flo and Stan came from Syracuse, N.Y., and belong to the Bradenton Shuffle Club. This is Flo's second Open Masters. She also played in the 2009 Amateur Masters and loves the game and the many friends made on the courts. The Kowalewskis volunteered to make many arrangements for this Masters and also rendered yeoman service in January at the Hall of Fame Banquet. Both are greatly appreciated officers in the District, Flo as secretary, Stan as first vice president.

n Placing second was Kathy Boutwell-Wilson in her fourth Masters; amateur in 2006, Open in '09, '10 and '13. Kathy began shuffle by playing yellow and black summer evenings before her retirement and gradually grew fonder of the game. She even loves the game so much that she married a shuffler, Mr. Jean Wilson Jr. Many happy returns on both adventures!

n Third, Shirley McCullough of Trailer Estates. Sister Rita Coy encouraged her to make 200 points, and next January Shirley will be inducted into the Florida Shuffleboard Hall of Fame. Shirley and Rita came from Owosso, Mich. Both twice widowed, both now married to shufflers, they are an encouragement to many. Shirley states that there is life after shuffleboard, but it has to wait until the season ends. Shirley's husband is Gene McCullough, first vice president at Trailer Estates Shuffle Club.

n Placing fourth was Nancy Sclafani, coming to Florida from Long Island, N.Y., picked up the sport her parents had played in the Central East Coast District. Moving from Zephyrhills to Colony Cove Lakes required adjustments. Playing now on smooth courts, Nancy considers the mental game good for us as we age. She appreciates all who make tournament competition successful and her husband for understanding support.

n Fifth was Margaret Hartzler, a retired math teacher and personal trainer who has moved around a lot. Married to Gary, they live in Imperial Lakes, and she is a vice president of Bradenton Shuffle Club. Margaret also is an avid reader and likes to travel, watch birds, jigsaw puzzles, cards and board games.

n Emma Searcy, sixth, married to Willie, lives at Palmetto now for 14 years and has played in her fourth Open District Masters. The Searcys summer in South Carolina, have three children, six grands and four great-grandchildren. Faithful Christians, they appreciate their family and friends very much.

n Seventh, Arlene McCague retired from the Campbell Soup Co. in Napoleon, Ohio, and with Roger, became snowbirds in 2002. After six years of golf, she began to shuffle in 2008. Jane O. Bird of Trailer Estates has coached her, although the McCagues live in Palmetto. Arlene appreciates her shuffling friends.

n Eighth was Letha DeVries. Letha and Charlie recently moved to Golf Lakes and will now stay all year in Florida. Letha expresses appreciation for all the ladies who are competitive and still have fun and become friends.

n Alice Barlow, whose late husband, Wally, also shuffled, belongs to the Bradenton Shuffle Club, but continues to live in historic Braden Castle. Alice placed first in the 2006 District Amateur Masters. In the next season, she and Dr. Larry Mardis won the National Amateur Mixed Doubles at Avon Park. Alice has been an Alternate player before, and this time she even got to play the last day and won all three games. To those who are reluctant to become Instant Pro, please note that Alice Barlow accepted it on her first opportunity in 2004 and expresses no regret.

n First in the Men's Division was Jerry Stannard. Jerry is on a roll with first place. Although this column regretfully somehow failed to publish the fact, on March 18, Jerry placed first at FL P-25A at Lakeland. At the Tournament of Champions at Clearwater FL P-26 on March 25, Jerry again placed first among Walking Men. Now first in the Southwest Coast District Open Masters, Jerry has won three times in two weeks! In his first year in this District, Jerry and his father now live at Golf Lakes. "Pop" is 98 and still competes and spectates. Gilbert Stannard will be watching at Palmetto as Jerry tries to win four times in a row. Jerry is a retired school teacher from Connecticut who formerly played at Winter Haven in the Central District of Florida.

n Second among men was Jerry Everett in his 12th year of shuffling. A faithful teacher at Paradise Bay, Jerry inspires many to excel. He and Marilyn are retired ski instructors from Maine. Both contribute much to shuffleboard each season before returning to Maine, where Jerry is also a helper to a taxidermist in the case of many bears annually.

n Third went to Jim L. Miller of Goshen, Ind., a retired farmer. Jim and Jo have three children and nine grandchildren. The Millers have given much volunteer time to improve the Bradenton Shuffle Club facility. Jim has become a vice-president at Bradenton and helps many clubs improve their court surfaces.

n Fourth was Dwayne Cross of Burgundy Apartments, Bradenton Shuffle Club and Flint, Mich., where he retired from General Motors Parts Operations in 2002. Dwayne and Judy annually sponsor a tournament in memory of their departed son. Dwayne's father introduced him to our sport, and he has achieved much in one decade. Dwayne and Judy appreciate all the players, his partners and those who work to keep clubs and courts in shape.

n Fifth, Captain Mel Erb of Melannee Fishing Charters on Lake Erie and a resident of Pinecraft in Sarasota. Mel also is an experienced painter and roofing contractor. He played slow-pitch softball for 22 years and has won amateur and open Masters tournaments, is a member of the Florida Shuffleboard Hall of Fame and twice placed first in the Florida Masters. Mel states he appreciates his partners.

n Sixth, Bill Tice of Golf Lakes began shuffling in Port Charlotte in the Southern District in 1997. He and Glenedi moved to Bradenton in 2002 after both becoming Pros while in Port Charlotte.

n Seventh, Ed Leonard, now a past president of Tropic Isles Shuffle Club in Palmetto, spends half the year in Bethel, Maine. He and Dianne retired in 2005. Ed spent 35 years in retail supervision at F.W. Woolworth Co. and 10 years operating a marina in Maine. Owners of a boat and a motor home, they appreciate friends, neighbors and fellow shufflers. The Leonards have six children and seven grandchildren.

n Clarence Gingerich of Shipshewana, Ind., a retired hog farmer, placed eighth. He and Mary live at Bahia Vista Estates in Sarasota. Clarence started shuffling in 1999 and placed second in the SWCD District Amateur Masters in 2004. Clarence often partners with his brother, Freeman.

n Alternate, John L. Brown of Trailer Estates, was honored to serve but was not needed to play. Learning to play in 1946, John has played two-thirds of the Centennial we celebrate, with much pleasure and success. John and his tournament director wife, Dolores have played on each continent except Africa.

Tournament results

Tournament of Champions, FL P-26 at Clearwater , March 25-26, Pros Only, Must Qualify. Men Walking Main: 1. Jerry Stannard, 2. Larry Mardis, 3. John L. Brown. Walking Consolation: 1. Dwayne Cross, 2. Ron Nurnberger, 3.Mike Marquis, 4. Nelson Kellogg. Men Non-Walking Main: 4. Peter Berg. Ladies Non-Walking Main: 3. Erika Berg. Consolation: 3. Bonnie Walker.

Notables

n Tuesday is the second day of the 2013 Florida Masters Tournament. The opening ceremonies will be the second day, Tuesday, as the facility for the ceremonies was unavailable on Monday. Expecting to play are Jim Miller, Mel Erb, Ken Offenther, Jerry Everett, David Earle, Larry Mardis, Dave Kudro, Jerry Stannard and Mike Marquis, Alternate. Also Judy Taylor, Landy Adkins, Jeannie Andrews, Nancy Sclafani, Judy Ross, Joyce Marquis, Glenna Earle, Helen Biaggi, with Dianna Allen, Alternate. The format is Walking Singles except in case of a Doctor's certificate of inability to walk, a match may be played non-walking. All are 75 points. Each plays each other player 3 games, 21 for each player. Grandstand seats welcome you.

n Mac Frazier of Paradise Bay is recovering from back surgery.

n Summer Yellow and Black begins at 8:30 a.m. May 1 at Bradenton Shuffle Club and will continue M-W-F until mid-September. Bring three quarters, so loser can pay winner 25 cents. Draw for positions, play three games each time. Information: Sue Daidone 722-4967.

n See PREVIEW for summer play in Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina and many other places. Every shuffler should have a PREVIEW.

Happy Shuffling.

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