Hosting the 2013 State Masters was a signal event for the Palmetto Shuffle Club. None of the host club had ever done it before, but they planned and arranged it all as smoothly as if they were old veterans. President Larry Toole and Event Chair Joan Erwin are to be congratulated. Palmetto Mayor Shirley Groover Bryant attended, along with every dignitary in Florida Shuffleboard and on Thursday an excellent banquet pleased everyone.
Judy Taylor won the Ladies Division for the fourth time. Moving to Golf Lakes during the season, Judy played out of Bradenton Shuffle Club and earned 85 points this season. She gives all the credit to God and says shuffle is her chief entertainment, helping her make new friends and enjoying being together for these many tournaments. Larry Taylor is her chauffeur and equipment manager. The Taylors have been married for 27 years.
Second place went to Judy Ross of the Southern District, married to Cyril for 48 years, mother of three and grandmother to three. The Rosses have a bed and breakfast business in Nantucket, Mass. Judy has now played in four Florida State Masters Tournaments, having been a Pro since 2004. She is eligible for induction into the Florida Hall of Fame next January.
Tied for third were Jeannie Andrews, Glenna Earle and Landy Adkins. Jeannie is a retired CPA from Virginia now living in Vero Beach in the Central East Coast District playing in her sixth Florida Masters. A member of the Florida Hall of Fame, she is Southeast Regional director of the USANSA.
Glenna Earle and her husband, David, were the only married couple to play in this Masters. A Florida Pro since 2009, she is a co-president of the Saltwater Shuffleboard Club Nova Scotia. Glenna played in the 2011 International Singles in Dieppe, New Brunswick, and won the golden cue presented by Allen R. Shuffleboard. In a 3-way tie for third, she was equal to Jeannie and Landy.
Landy Adkins is first vice president of the Florida Shuffleboard Association and president of the Ohio Shuffleboard Association. This was her eighth Florida Masters, and she is a member of the FSA Hall of Fame and the Southern District Hall of Fame. She and George are from northern Ohio and the Southern District of Florida.
Sixth in the Ladies Division was Joyce Marquis of New Hampshire and Bradenton Shuffle Club. Treasurer of the Southwest Coast District, she also serves Bradenton Shuffle Club in this capacity. She also is the official state delegate from the Southwest Coast District, thus serving on the FSA Board in her official capacity. Playing in her first Florida Masters, Joyce has coached youth in baseball, basketball and soccer. Joyce was forced to let Dianna Allen, alternate, substitute for her on Wednesday.
Seventh went to Helen Biaggi of Fort Myers in the Southern District, playing in her second Florida Masters event. Born in England, raised in Canada, she and Steve play almost every State Tournament nowadays. Treasurer of the Southern District, she has won the Southern District Masters four of the six times eligible to play.
In eighth place was Nancy Sclafani of Bradenton Shuffle Club. Nancy's parents were Pros in the Central East Coast. Formerly at Zephyrhills, she and Michael only moved to the Southwest Coast District a couple of years ago. This was her first Florida Masters, so now she also sports the beautiful white Masters Jacket presented once in a lifetime by Jim Allen, president of Allen R. Shuffleboard in Seminole.
Dianna Allen, alternate, faithfully watched every game until summoned to finish for Joyce Marquis. Dianna and Sam live in the Southern District. She became Pro in 2006 and has twice won the Florida National Singles. She now has two silver and one gold FL Roll of Honor Pins. She also won the National Doubles in 2011.
Mel Erb, of Holmes County Ohio and Bradenton Shuffle Club, tied for first among men with Dr. Larry Mardis of Cincinnati, Ohio, and Braden Castle, also playing out of Bradenton Shuffle Club. Mel is a fishing charter captain on Lake Erie in summer, going after perch and walleye several times weekly with a boatload of sport fishermen. Also an experienced painting and roofing contractor, Mel and Ann reside in Pinecraft in Sarasota County. Mel goes about shuffleboard with much of the same gusto practiced in 22 years of Ohio softball. Mel has won or tied first in the Florida Masters thrice out of 5 times eligible to play.
Larry Mardis, a retired dentist, helps professionals find appropriate office space in southwestern Ohio in summer. This is his first Florida Masters. Larry has won an Amateur National Singles, Amateur National Mixed Doubles (with Alice Barlow), a National Pro Mixed Doubles and a National Doubles. He and this columnist also won the Ohio State Doubles at Lakeside, Ohio, three consecutive years. Linus might say he comes out of the most sincere pumpkin patch, because Larry states that he treasures not the awards but the wonderful people he has met in shuffleboard.
Jim L. Miller and Jerry Everett tied for third. Jim is a retired farmer from northern Indiana and a vice president of Bradenton Shuffle Club. A member of the FSA Hall of Fame, Jim and Jo work hard to improve the setting at Bradenton. Jim appreciates the challenges of the game and the friendship of his fellow shufflers.
Jerry Everett won the 2001 SWCD District Amateur Masters and has worked hard as chair of that event, a teacher and coordinator of referees and shuffle schools. President of Paradise Bay Shuffle Club, this was his second Florida Masters. Jerry and Marilyn spend summers in Maine.
David Earle and Ken Offenther tied for fifth. David has shuffled for 11 years, and this is his fourth Florida Masters. David was once president at Zephyrhills Winters Park, is president at Zephyrhills Shuffle Club and is co-president (with Glenna) of Saltwater Club in Nova Scotia. He is also president of the Central District of Florida as well as Secretary of the International Shuffleboard Association. The Earles must like to travel.
Ken Offenther is a retired banker played in his fourth Florida Masters. A member of the FSA Centennial Committee, he wrote speeches for 60 presentations of Most Valuable Persons pins presented this year. He also was presented with one pin, well deserved. Born in Kansas City, Mo., growing up in New York City, Ken learned to shuffle at age 13. A quarter century later, he began shuffling in Florida at Pompano Beach in the early 1990s. After 15 years at Bank of America, he retired to shuffle much more regularly. In 2009, Ken won two national championships at Hendersonville, N.C. Ken will be inducted into the FL Hall of Fame in January 2014.
Tying for seventh among men were Dave Kudro and Jerry Stannard. Kudro, second vice president of Florida Shuffleboard Association, started shuffling five years ago, made the District Amateur Masters his first year. He became an Instant Pro three years ago and won his National Pin in January at Trailer Estates in 2013. Dave came from Akron, Ohio.
Jerry Stannard of Clinton, Conn., has been a Pro in Florida for nine years. Jerry and his father, Gilbert, age 98, moved to Golf Lakes from the Central District last year. A member of the FSA Hall of Fame, Jerry has won three first places in the last three tournaments he played: Lakeland, Tournament of Champions at Clearwater, and SWCD Open Masters at Bradenton. A retired school teacher, Jerry has won at least two Florida State Tournaments each of the 9 years since turning Pro.
Mike Marquis of New Hampshire and Bradenton is President of the Southwest Coast District. He served as Alternate Player, but was not needed. Playing ice hockey and baseball in high school, he later coached youth baseball, hockey, soccer and basketball. Mike has been a Pro for five of his nine years as a shuffler.
Steve Biaggi of Fort Myers observed that pushers speed up the non-walking singles. The threat of rain caused us to use pushers this year, but Thursday's actual rain ended the Masters 3 games ( 1/2 day) prematurely. Steve also felt that Palmetto hosted wonderfully and appreciated special motel rates arranged. He also was impressed by the uniformed referees and the faithful spectators, even many from the District. Well said.
Have a nice Summer; this column resumes in October.