'Babe Ruth' of shuffleboard among 127 in Bradenton tournament

BRADENTON -- Some call Clearwater's Glen Peltier the "Babe Ruth" of shuffleboard because his lifetime point total of 1,300 is the all-time highest.

Peltier, who spends his summers in Canada, is among 127 men and women, including Shuffleboard Hall of Famer Jerry Stannard from Connecticut, who are competing here this week in the Florida National Singles tournament at the Bradenton Shuffleboard Courts.

"The public can come by and meet Glen, the world's greatest ever shuffleboard player," said tournament director Dolores Brown.

The shuffleboard action, which is open and free to the public, started Monday and will pick up again 8:30 a.m. to dusk Tuesday, and conclude 8:30 a.m. until at least noon Wednesday at 1525 Ballard Park Drive, along Ninth Avenue West.

Peltier has been competing for 33

years, racking up points every time he uses a cue to thrust discs into a shuffleboard gram, which is a big triangle.

"If you win first place in a state tournament you get five points," Brown said, "If you get second you get four points, if you get third place you get three points, and so on all the way to third place in the consolation round, where you get one point."

Those who park their cars in the grassy lot to the west of the courts and sit in the bleachers can also ask to meet Jerry Stannard's father, Bradenton snowbird Gilbert "Gib" Stannard, 99 -- who, like his hero, the late New York Yankees baseball great Joe Dimaggio, will have his 100th birthday on Dec. 1.

Gib Stannard, who isn't competing in this tournament, can be easily identified for autograph hunters because he is the player always wearing a Yankees cap.

"Dad still plays shuffleboard and loves the Yankees," said son Jerry, 72, who, with his dad, summers in Connecticut and winters at Golf Estates in Bradenton.

Gib Stannard is one of the oldest shuffleboard players in the world, his son said.

"Shuffleboard has kept him going," Jerry Stannard added.

The tournament is being run by what shuffleboard players around the state call "The Boss Ladies," including Director Brown and her assistants, Jo Miller and Ann Wedel.

Besides running the tournament, the Boss Ladies consider themselves ambassadors for the sport. They would love to introduce new players to the sport that they love.

"Shuffleboard gives you competition, exercise and friendship," Brown said. "If you like being with people, this is your sport. You get to travel around the state and make new friends. It's also a sport that challenges you. Some days you can't do anything wrong. Some days you can't do anything right."

"Boss Lady" Jo Miller is also a bit of a stand up comic.

Although her husband, Jim, plays the game, she has never played.

"I tell people I have never found a cue that fits my hand," she says, making everyone laugh.

The cues are lightweight and easy to use.

"Shuffleboard keeps your mind sharp because you keep score in your head," Jo Miller said.

There is a lot of bending and thrusting, but the physical activity is not enough to keep people on crutches and walkers from playing, said "Boss Lady" Wedel. They've even had people in wheel chairs play.

"Shuffleboard is a mixture of skill and strategy," Jerry Stannard said. "Skill is just one thing. If you don't have the strategy, you won't win consistently."

Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7072 or contact him via Twitter@