St. Pete Hosts World Shuffleboard Championship

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UPDATE: The 2013 World Shuffleboard Singles Championship will be held on October 20-25, 2013 according to Christine Page, president of the St. Pete Shuffleboard.

By unanimous vote, the National Presidents of the International Shuffleboard Association decided the 2013 World Shuffleboard Singles Championship will be held at the St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club. Dates are still being discussed but the championship should be held in late October 2013.
The International Shuffleboard Association was founded in 1979 right here in the ‘Burg. The tournament will host up to up to 120 players from at least 10 different countries. 
Thanks to the success of the Shuffleboard Club’s Friday Night Shuffle, which started in 2005 to encourage community involvement, participation in shuffleboard has increased dramatically. Every Friday from 7-11pm, the public has been welcome to play for free. Also, first time players need not worry, there are plenty of volunteers to teach the basics. 
“Before 2005, membership to the club has dwindled down to 35. Now, we have over 200 members,” St. Petersburg Shuffleboard President Christine Page said. “We are always looking for more. We would love to be back at 8,000 again.” 
The St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club original complex was built in 1923 with two courts. By 1948, it was the largest in the world with over 100 courts, a clubhouse, ball room, bridge room and bleachers for spectators. The club consisted of between 5,000 - 8,000 members who called the courts their home. Today, the St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club is still the largest shuffleboard court in the world with over 60 courts. 
Through the years, as shuffleboard became less popular, it was feared that the public courts would be shutdown or sold to a private owner. Recently an eclectic crowd of both young and old players, have re-awakened one of Florida’s iconic pastimes. 
The club is always looking for more ways to connect with the community through live music, ethnic food nights and art shows. There also are plans for a Tuesday family night and even the organization of a kids’ tournament to help keep shuffleboard alive and well in the ‘Burg. 

Old postcard of St. Petersburg Shuffleboard

Tweed Ride and Seersucker shuffle in 2011. Photos via St. Pete Shuffle Club

Report contributed by Joe Castagna, a Freelance Journalist and Media Consultant working in downtown St. Petersburg. He covers local politics, community issues, and local events. He travels by bike, messes around on his iPhone too much, reads a lot of news, is obsessed with social media, and loves to find new music. He's also been the drummer in a series of garage bands.
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