Playing his third Florida Masters, Jerry Everett describes his win as a humbling experience to realize he was among so many outstanding others, yet was lucky enough to come in first.
He allows that his great good fortune was an early start with four wins Monday and six wins Tuesday. Four more on Wednesday and one Thursday morning gave Everett 15 wins and a big sigh of relief. Everett's wife, Marilyn, was a volunteer scorekeeper this year and kept score on the court next to Everett's last court and was able to share his joy right away.
The Everetts met on the ski slopes several years ago and were both single again then, but not for much longer. Retiring in 1998, after 30 years as a ski instructor, Jerry Everett has taught many to shuffle, and is now president of Paradise Bay Shuffle Club. He also has supervised refereeing in the Southwest Coast District for about eight years.
After another month, the Everetts will return to Maine, where Jerry helped process about 122 black bears at a taxidermy shop in the north woods, including one bear tipping the scale at 598 pounds. The bears all came during two weeks in September and October.
There also arrived 15 moose in two weeks, not to mention a few bobcat and lynx. And did I also mention that Jerry achieved the goal of 200 Florida Pro Points this season, and will be installed Jan. 19, 2015, at Hollywood in the Florida Shuffleboard Hall of Fame? Congratulations.
Jim Miller placed third with 12 wins. Jim and Jo Miller live at Pinecraft, and Jim refinishes shuffle courts as a sideline. They summer in northern Indiana where they have farms, rental homes and children, in-laws and grandchildren. Never a dull moment at the Millers', either.
Mel Erb, of Pinecraft and Ohio, placed fifth this year. Capt. Mel Erb is a charter boat fishing entrepreneur on Lake Erie in summer. He and Ann have plenty of good fish all summer, and Mel even finds time to do custom painting in Ohio and Florida.
Newly installed President Ron Nurnberger of the Southwest Coast District placed sixth with nine wins in his first time in the contest. Ron and Pam Nurnberger have had a wonderful season and well deserve the honors they receive.
Dave Kudro placed seventh this year. Doubtless his number one fan, Terri Smith was present, rooting him on and comforting him when he did not win a few matches. Having played in the Masters myself several times, I can say with authority that it is not easy to win even seven games at that level.
Those keeping track will have noticed that five of eight players in the Men's Masters came from the Southwest Coast District. We are both pleased and proud of these players.
Second place went to Ray Buck of the Southern District; fourth place went to Earl Ball of the Central District; and eighth went to Paul Prescott of the Central District. Alternate Rob Robinson of the Northern District did not play.
Judy Taylor, now of Golf Lakes, won the Ladies Division with 15 wins. Judy has won the Florida Masters five times now and is in the top 19 ladies in Florida history with more than 500 lifetime points already. Only 200 points is needed to be in the Florida Hall of Fame, so Judy has that 2½ times! Larry Taylor, a steadily improving player in his own right, is her faithful equipment manager and regards his role as vital, similar to a NASCAR mechanic, and even Judy says she really appreciates it. Judy humbly acknowledges that just playing in the Masters is itself an honor.
Also placing among ladies: 2. Dianna Allen, Southern District, 14 wins; 3. Linda Marshman, Northern District, 12 wins; 4. Marion Lohbusch, Northern District, 11 wins; 5. Helen Biaggi, Southern District, nine wins; 6. Jeannie Andrews, Central East Coast District, eight wins with Landy Adkins alternate; 7. Sue McLaughlin, Northern District, eight wins; 8. Arlene Guerrini, West Coast District, eight wins with Glenda Brake Alternate.
The 2014 FL Masters was played March 31 to April 3 at Holiday Travel Park in the West Coast District. It was that district's first time to host, with only eight courts. Other modest clubs could take courage, thereby.
Sue Daidone advises that Lloyd Schmidt of Terra Siesta is having serious heart surgery.
Betty Sparks is hospitalized in Michigan, critically ill with cancer.
Jane O. Bird is very sick with a new, stronger form of chemotherapy.
Black and Gold begins April 30 at Bradenton, (bring $.50), continuing M-W-F through September.
This column resumes in October. Thanks to our faithful readers.