With 46 men’s teams and 28 ladies teams from across the country, what would be the likelihood of two players from this district winning the national championship and earning the coveted national pin?
That is what happened at Trailer Estates last week. The winning team at the 2017 National Winter Doubles was Bob Comford and Hank Hoekstra. It was the pleasure of this columnist to pin the two of them at the Southwest Coast District Tournament at Palmetto on Thursday. I was so honored to do so at the request of Bob; I was his partner a decade ago in his first tournament beyond the club level. I have since partnered with each in tournaments in the Northern District.
A player gets a lifetime pin only once, regardless of how many times they subsequently win.
Bob Comford grew up on a dairy farm in Indiana whose family included his 10 siblings. Comford worked for MAC tools, retiring as a district manager of sales. Comford and his wife, Winnie, have two children and four grandchildren, having raised their family in Orient, Ohio, south of Columbus. Since 2007, Comford has helped the Palmetto Shuffle Club, even serving as President.
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Hank Hoekstra grew up in the area of Grand Rapids, Mich. After graduating from Western Michigan University 49 years ago, and marrying Bette, he was drafted into the Army. He trained at the non-commissioned officers school and went to Vietnam as a member of the infantry. Hoekstra has said he feels a divine blessing in surviving that war. He and Bette have three children and have lived in Michigan and Southern California while he worked as an insurance claims agent and manager.
Enjoying shuffleboard in the Southwest Coast District for more than a decade, Hoekstra said the friends you make in shuffleboard is the best part of the whole wonderful experience.
I am sure many of his friends, past, present, and future will agree. We have a great fraternal spirit, and there is room in this fraternity for new members.
FL P-17 (Jan. 23): at Trailer Estates, National M/L Doubles. 75 points. Men main: 1. Hank Hoekstra-Bob Comford, 3. Dave Kudro-Jerry Everett, 4. Dave Minnich-Dwayne Cross. Consolation: 1. Phil Booher-Levi Miller, 3. Ben Coy-Faren VanDeGrift. Ladies main: 3. Heather Godson-Erika Berg, 4. Judy Taylor. Consolation: 3. Marlene Coburn-Marilyn Everett, 4. Jill DeBruyne-Sue Minnich.
SWCD D-14 (Jan. 26): at Palmetto, M/L Draw Doubles Restricted to State Ams and Pros, 16/75 pts. Ladies main: 1. Lois Wagner-Evelyn White, 2. Marilyn Everett-Judy Cross, 3. Jill DeBruyne-Bonnie Walker, 4. Jane Schram-Shirley Pendergrass. Consolation: 1. Terri Smith-Linda Wallingford, 2. Pam Nunberger-Margaret Hartzler, 3. Adriana Cramton-Cindy Slaughterbeck, 4. Erika Berg-Pat Tomko. Men main: 1. Jim Smith-Jerry Everett, 2. Bob Comford-Ron Lewandowski, 3. Tom Putnam-Dave Minnich, 4. Paul Knepper-Ed Boley. Consolation: 1. Murray Potter-J.R. Rathburn, 2. Ralph Lozano-Brad Thomas, 3. Don Gray-Wolter Bootsma, 4. Darrel Blake-Phil Booher.
SWCD A-11 (Jan. 27): at Palmetto, Draw Doubles, Any Amateurs, 16/75 pts. Main: 1. John Hechinger-Jack Morris, 2. Steve Slaughterbeck-Doug Smith, 3. Frank Marderosian-Tony Souza, 4. Bill Bierema-Patrick Antaya. Consolation: 1. Ken Mather-Harriet Piccard, 2. Larry Nicholson-Helen Lunsford, 3. Dave Evenson-Janice O’Sullivan, 4. Dave Patchkowski-Jim Lessard.
SWCD D-15 (Feb. 2): at Bradenton, M/L Doubles, Restricted to St Ams and Pros. 75 points.
SWCD A-12 (Feb. 3): at Bradenton, Any Ams/Any Doubles, 75 points.
FL P-19 (Feb. 6): at Hawthorne, State-Sponsored M/L Open Doubles. 75 points. No Lunch.
FL A-17 (Feb. 6): at Sebring, Any Ams/Any Doubles, 75. Points. Lunch available.