Although the Southwest Coast District Masters at Palmetto was all played at once, space last week was short for such a long report, so here is the Open Masters report.
Jim Miller, a retired farmer from Indiana who lives in the Pinecraft neighborhood in Sarasota County, won first place in the District Masters once again. Jim and Jo, herself a tournament director, have contributed much volunteer time to the vast improvement of Bradenton Shuffle Club facilities. Jim also is experienced at rejuvenating tired shuffle court surfaces. Their children reside in northern Indiana.
Larry Mardis, of Ohio and Braden Castle, playing out of Bradenton Shuffle Club, took second, having run even with Jim until the final game. Dr. Mardis is a retired dentist from the Cincinnati area who shuffles very well in Ohio and Florida.
Larry Toole, of south central Ohio and the Palmetto Mobile Home Park, placed third. A tireless worker in the Palmetto Club, Larry has been married for 49 years and counting and has one married daughter, two grandchildren and a dog.
Fourth place went to Jerry Stannard of Golf Lakes, who grew up in Connecticut on Long Island Sound. A retired school teacher, Jerry previously lived in the Central District and is an officer in this district. Jerry's father, Gib, at 99 is his No. 1 fan.
Dwayne Cross, originally from Michigan, playing out of Bradenton Shuffle Club placed fifth this year. Also this year, Dwayne's wife, Judy, has entered into District and State shuffle competition. We are all very pleased at this development. Cross' golden wedding anniversary is in August.
Charlie DeVries, of Michigan and Golf Lakes, placed sixth. He and Letha are now Florida residents, shuffleboard replacing his hobby farm and antique tractor collection. Charlie thanks the tournament directors, appreciates this column and declares tournaments are like family reunions every week!
Seventh place goes to Faren VanDeGrift, born in 1938 to a farm family in Darke County, Ohio. Now a permanent resident living in Sarasota on Buena Vista, Faren has 17 years' experience, having won the District Amateur Masters in 2003 and having become a Pro in 2005.
Eighth place is Ralph "Tiny" Lozano, of Golf Lakes and Port Huron, Mich. A Pro since 2008, possessed of a keen sense of humor, if pressed on some sensitive issue, with a sparkle in his eye, he remembers his ethnic heritage and decrees, "No speaka da English."
Alternate Mike Keeping was omnipresent but not needed. Mike was the sixth of 10 children in a Minnesota family, and in the Vietnam War was a trouble shooter on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier. Shuffling is a breeze after that.
Pam Nurnberger, first lady of the Southwest Coast District (as president Ron's wife) won first place in the Open Ladies Masters. She fell in love with shuffleboard five years ago when first picking up a cue. They play together as a couple, now a daily pastime. She appreciated the opportunity to make so many friends. The Nurnbergers winter at Seabreeze and summer in Michigan.
Nancy Sclafani placed second this year. Formerly at Zephyrhills in the Central District, Nancy credits George Darwin as mentor. A retired retail merchandiser from New York, Nancy has many skills, interests and experiences. From cross stitch to boating with her husband, Michael, winning ribbons at Manatee County Fair, and now Keeper of Records in the Southwest Coast District, Nancy stays busy with never a dull moment.
Lois Wegner, third, a retired teacher from Sheyboygan, Wis., has lived at Tri-Par for 23 years. Her late husband, Al, a venerable Green Bay Packers fan, got her into shuffling before 2000 and since his passing, shuffleboard has provided the activity and fellowship to keep her healthy and active.
Fourth place went to Alice Barlow, a Maine-iac at Braden Castle who shuffled for 22 years, a frequent partner of Larry Mardis, her neighbor. They even won the National Mixed Doubles a few years ago. Alice is blessed by two children, three grands and four geat-grands.
Letha DeVries placed fifth, having been a Pro since 2009. She and Charlie have three children and six grands. While Charlie was a construction supervisor, Letha was an influential receptionist figure in a Michigan Township office. Letha enjoys Draw Tournaments because she is thus acquainted with many new partners. The DeVries often play together as partners, too.
Sixth place Marilyn Everett began shuffling in 2001 and was a Pro by 2002. Wintering in Paradise Bay and summering in Maine, she and Jerry keep very busy. They are both good shufflers and referees and former downhill ski instructors.
Linda Wallingford placed seventh this year. She and Vernon live at SeaBreeze, where she first shuffled with the Shufflettes, then amateur tournaments in 2009, becoming pro in 2010. The Wallingfords play black and yellow at Bradenton in summer. Linda expresses appreciation for her shuffling friends.
Kathy Boutwell, eighth, played in the District Amateur Masters in 2006, living full time in Bradenton. She loves the game so much, she feels sad when snowbirds leave, because that marks the end of the season. She anticipates October because it ushers in a new, exciting season of wholesome competition and more new friends. Her smile welcomes us back.
Alternate Arlene McCague did not play, but she was faithfully present. She and Roger live in Palmetto, and she loves the sport so much she kids him as a shuffleboard "widower" because of her addiction to this sport, along with her priceless friends.
FL P-26 at Clearwater Tournament of Champions March 24-25. Ladies non-Walking, 27 entries. Consolation: 2. Terri Smith, Men non-Walking, 20 entries. Consolation: 4. Gene McCullough. Men Walking, 22 entries. Main: 1. Dave Kudro, 3. Ron Nurnberger, 4. Henry Wagler. Consolation: 3. Dwayne Cross.
Sue Daidone reminds us that Fred and Shirley Jones are suffering health challenges at their ages and appreciate our concerns and prayers.
Tuesday is the second day of FL P-27, the 2014 Florida Open Masters at Holiday Travel Park, 1022 Aires Road. Holiday, FL 34690. Holiday is in Pasco County just north of Tarpon Springs. Entrance is at the stoplight where U.S. 19 reunites with 19 16 miles north of Clearwater Shuffle Club.
Next week's column will contain results and will be the last column until October.