Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Photo essay of Shuffle

Chuck Vosburgh is a local photographer and instructor at the Art Center. He leads monthly photo walks around the community. Shuffle was the October venue. You can check out the groups photos on Chuck's Flickr site. Pages 3, 4 & 5 have pictures of shuffle.

Picture by New Age Photography.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Holiday Craft Shuffle

The Holiday Shuffle: An Arts and Crafts Festival
Friday Dec. 5th, 7-10 pm

Come see the craft heroes and a fabulous assortment of indie vendors who will be at The Holiday Shuffle, Fri. Dec 5 from 7-10 pm at the historic Mirror Lake Shuffleboard Complex as part of the Friday night St. Pete Shuffle.

Admission is free and you can play shuffleboard! Beer & wine available too!

Relax, have a beverage, and check out some cool video projection art outside after you've done your holiday shopping. Time to buy handmade--don't miss this fun festive night! Located at 559 mirror lake drive in St. Pete, 33701

About the Craft Heroes:
The St. Pete Craft Heroes (saving the 'burg from stale boring crafts) are Shannon Schafer (aka BoogieBead) and Coralette Damme (aka CraftyHag). These partners in craft teamed up to form the Craft Heroes when they saw a need for more accessible sales opportunities in the local art/craft community. As mentors and administrators on their local Etsy street team (Etsy is an online marketplace for all things hand made, and the local team of crafters is FEST:FLorida Etsy Street Team) they have helped numerous creative folks take the plunge and publicly share their passion.

The Craft Heroes pay particular attention to quality and creativity of the vendors at their events, making sure that guests find unique styles and unusual offerings at all of their events.

The Craft Heroes are community conscious and plan their events to aid and promote local charities and non-profit organizations. A portion of vendor registration fees from each event are donated to a worthy cause.

The Craft Heroes encourage everyone to buy HANDMADE FOR THE HOLIDAYS! Support local artisans and your local economy, reduce your global footprint all by buying from community crafters. A wide assortment of products will be available, something for every taste and budget!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

St. Pete City Council approves $310K in shuffleboard repairs/improvements

To access:

Go to the published City Council Meeting Agendas

Click on November 6th.

Scroll down to G5 - item 5 in the reports section.

Upcoming Shuffleboard Tournament

CLEARWATER – The Clearwater and Pinellas Park Shuffleboard Clubs will have an amateur doubles tournament Monday, Nov. 17, 9 a.m., at the Pinellas Park Senior Center, 7625 59th St., Pinellas Park. There also will be a no two pros tournament Thursday, Nov. 20, 9 a.m., at Clearwater Shuffleboard, 1020 Calumet St., Clearwater. The clubs have members that belong to both clubs and the tournaments are open to all West Coast District shufflers.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Mirror Lake UU Church hosts Shuffleboard Mystery Dinner

UU St. Pete Launches First Mystery Dinner
Mark your calendar for 6-9pm Saturday, October 25. That's the date of the Mystery Dinner -- an evening of good food and friends.

For the evening, we're turning Gilmour Hall into Gilmour Convention Center, but due to a scheduling snafu, two conventions have been booked at the same time -- a roller derby team and a shuffleboard team. Talk about culture shock! Misunderstandings abound, the mystery deepens and mirth ensues.

This is a participatory event; everyone attending will be assigned a character, with a description of that character's personality and a suggestion for how to dress. There will be a variety of speaking parts -- you'll be asked to choose whether you want to have lots of lines or no lines, or something in between. We also are looking for props and would appreciate the loan of roller skates or shuffleboard poles for the evening.

Because this is a fundraiser, it will be a potluck. For those bringing a dish (enough to serve 6-8 people), attendance is $10. If you don't want to bring a dish, attendance is $20. We will waive the attendance fee for those who cannot afford it.

If there is sufficient demand, childcare will be available for an additional fee.
You can RSVP directly to Mike Manning (727) 374-0570. Please indicate who and how many are attending; whether you would like a large, medium or small speaking part, or a no-speaking part; if you will bring a dish; and if you would like childcare to be available.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Retro recreation and the St. Pete Shuffle

Rand McNally reported on St. Pete Shuffle on their blog.

Here's the link.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Old Mirror Lake shuffleboard complex to have a spring in its step

St. Pete Times 9/17/08

ST. PETERSBURG — More than six months after City Hall cited itself for neglecting the historic Mirror Lake shuffleboard and lawn bowling complex, city officials say they will spend at least $150,000 to repair and renovate the downtown landmark.

The growing popularity of a free Friday night shuffleboard event ultimately persuaded city leaders to repair the site after years of unsettled debate over what to do with the deteriorating complex, said Clarence Scott, city services administrator.

"Our strategy is to preserve it as it is right now," he said. "We are anxious to move on this and get things done."

In March the complex was cited for five code violations after the neglect of the nearly 90-year-old shuffleboard and lawn bowling center.

The list of violations, discovered by the city in January, include chipping and peeling paint throughout the structure, rotted window frames and siding, excessive rust on the bleachers, large settlement cracks, exposed wires and electrical outlets, and improperly boarded windows.

The city fixed only the electrical system. The other repairs need permission from the city's preservation board, Scott said.

The repairs could cost about $65,000, he said.

Other renovations are also being considered.

Within the next 12 months, the city wants to turn one of two lawn bowling areas into green space, install air conditioning in the complex's clubhouse, repair the shuffleboard courts, install signs detailing the significance of the site and enhance security fencing around the complex, said Scott.

The AC would cost about $82,500, Scott said. His staff is figuring out how much the other improvements would cost, he said.

The Mirror Lake complex, built in 1923, is home to the nation's oldest shuffleboard club.

In May 2007, the city held a public meeting to discuss the site's future. Residents demanded it be fixed, but no action was taken.

As recently as July, city officials said they did not want to pour money into the aging facility and were holding out for a self-sustaining tenant to take over the property.

But the success of St. Pete Shuffle, a weekly event that attracts younger people and families alike, convinced city leaders that the property is still viable, Scott said.

Community activists started the shuffleboard revival event in 2005 to drum up civic support for the complex. St. Pete Shuffle draws about 100 people each Friday night.

"We have been proving week in and week out that this is a valuable place in our community," said event founder Chris Kelly. "Every Friday night that people come out here is a victory. If the buildings get cleaned up as a result, all the better."

Cristina Silva can be reached at (727) 893-8846 or

Link to original article.

April 1934

Back in 1934 – after the Shuffleboard Clubhouse was built, this article was published in the Evening Independent. Thanks to Google’s new archive of old newspaper articles, it is easy to catch up on the events and tournaments at the club. Tourist Games Center at Mirror Lake Park in the Very Heart of the City By Mat Hews

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

You do burn calories playing shuffle

According to this blog you can burn more calories playing shuffleboard than fishing or mowing your lawn. See how your favorite forms of recreation stack up against one another.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Creatives Speak Up 9/4/08

Shuffleboard really is for all ages By Christa Fairbrother

The St. Pete Shuffleboard club on Mirror Lake Dr. is the world’s oldest and largest shuffleboard club. Founded in 1924, we’ve gone through many changes but we remain one of the most unique recreational opportunities in Florida. Our historic structures are one of downtown’s features, and we’re working with the city to restore and renovate them.

For me, the uniqueness of the complex is a large part of why I’m involved. In our many strip malls and big box stores, it’s a challenge to find anything manufactured, created, or unique to Pinellas County in any way. I can guarantee when I call distant family and friends they have not played shuffleboard on historic courts in the last week, and I can say I have and had a blast doing it.

I know the stereotype is that only old people or people on cruises play shuffleboard, but one of the truly great things about shuffle is you can be 2 or 92 and have a great time. Our board president is under 30 and as you can see from the photo, if you expect them to make Olympic trials, you have to start training young. Our son is two and knows the rules and how they apply to life principles – stay out of the kitchen or you’re penalized.

As you know the nights are warm and beautiful south of the south. Come out and join us on a Friday night! We’d love for you to get involved and help us keep this amazing St. Pete institution thriving and vibrant.
Check us out on the web at or our blog at

Friday, August 29, 2008

Scrub the Club Sept. 13 9AM

We need all available hands to help us get the club spruced up. Please come and bring everyone you know.

Here's our to do list:

Clean clubhouse including the floor
Court benches - tighten screws & repair bases
Court chalkboards - fix eraser holders, clean & repaint as needed
Bleachers - Clean & wipe down seats
Clean out drains
Organize cue house
Replace & remount bad locks and door chains as needed
Repair broken cues
Organize & repair disk carriers
Clean disks
Replace light bulbs on courts including the Xmas lights
Wash windows

We will provide plenty of cold beverages. Bring a dish for potluck afterwards. Rain date is Sept. 20th.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A New Age - Washington Post article from Jan 2007

If you never saw the Washington Post article from Jan 2007, here's the link.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Shuffleboard Governing Bodies

If all your Olympics watching has you wondering about rules and international guidelines in your favorite local sport check out these websites.

Florida Shuffleboard Association

US National Shuffleboard Association

German Shuffleboard Association

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

National Geographic Dec. 1963

Check out this vintage photo in National Geographic. Look familiar?

Monday, August 11, 2008

NY Times Article 2005

Early Onset Shuffleboard

Published: September 11, 2005

St. Petersburg, Fla.

Right: Jordan Sanford, 25, takes his turn at the St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club on a Friday night. Members of his set say they like both the game's novelty and the accompanying rock music.

IT was late on a Friday night and in deference to the full moon R.E.M.'s "Man on the Moon" played through speakers attached to an iPod. A group of tattooed and goateed men and women was beginning to form, punching messages into their cellphones, lugging coolers and stubbing out cigarettes.

Left: Jim Stem for The New York Times Phillip Clark, 30, a recent convert to the game.

It could have been any gathering in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, but there were palm trees lining the nearby sidewalk, a warm breeze coming in from Tampa Bay, and the activity that was about to commence was shuffleboard. "It is one of the few sports that you can play holding a beverage," said Chris Kelly, 39, as he brandished a cue in one hand and opened a Coke with the other.

Once heralded as the "Mecca of shuffleboard," for the past two decades the St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club complex has been showing signs of its age, 78 years, and irrelevance. The elegant covered bleachers, which held the hundreds who came out to watch the club's many tournaments and were the setting for the 1985 movie "Cocoon," are now ruins with peeling paint, broken windows and splintered wood.

As St. Petersburg expanded and many club patrons died or moved away, membership, which peaked at 5,000 in the 1980's, dwindled to around a hundred players, many of whom are over 80 years old. It doesn't help that today's baby-boomer retirees prefer more active sports.

"People used to play shuffleboard because it was cheap," said Walt Wedel, 77, the president of the U.S. National Shuffleboard Association. "A lot of today's retirees have more money for things like golf." He added that the number of players nationwide has dropped to about a million from more than 4 million in the early 1980's.

Now, however, possible salvation has arrived in the unexpected form of three activists and artists in their 30's. Mr. Kelly, the head of marketing for a publisher, and two friends, Phillip Clark, 30, a multimedia artist and the director of an artist's organization, and Chad Mize, 30, also a multimedia artist, discovered the spot late last spring and decided it would be a great gathering place for artists and musicians.

As a trial they invited several friends to a game in late March. Since then, through word of mouth, a Web site and some local press, the once-dying institution has become a thriving and increasingly important part of the city's downtown scene, attracting up to 100 young players every Friday night.

"I was surprised to see a lot of young people," said Jonathan Cohen, 32, who moved to St. Petersburg from Chicago three years ago to complete his law degree and made his first visit to the club in mid-August. "It was like some secret society that only a few people seemed to know about."

The nature of shuffleboard, the modern rules of which were invented in St. Petersburg in 1924, is such that once a player is past the first frustrating hour of learning not to plow the 15-ounce discs from one end of the court to the other, the sport becomes straightforward to anyone who has handled a pool cue. Beginners can become fairly competent fairly quickly, but players say the game is harder than it looks. Push the "hammer" cue too hard and your disc will end up in the negative scoring realm of "the kitchen" or off the court altogether. Don't push it enough, and you're not even in the scoring zone.

Not everyone returns after an introductory game; maybe it's the civic regulation that prevents the consumption of alcohol on the premises. Nevertheless more than three dozen young people have put down the $20 annual fee and joined the club since April.

"I mean, after a while, you get tired of the same old dinner, bar, movie, club event on Friday nights," said Sara Hoeber, 29, a landscape designer who was born and raised in Florida, who joined over the summer. "It's a fun social thing to do with friends," she continued. "The music is good and typically fun, the atmosphere is comfortable and the nostalgia is a bit of a draw as well."

At first the arrival of the new players did not amuse some of the older members. "They were worried they were going to be pushed out," said Mary Eldridge, a sixtysomething shuffleboard hall of famer and president of the St. Petersburg club. "They thought they wouldn't be able to play in the afternoons."

That concern was soon dispelled when it became clear that the new crowd, with jobs, school, young children and other responsibilities, preferred to play at night, long after the older players had gone home. The two constituencies rarely cross paths, let alone compete for time on the 62 functional courts.

This year's Fourth of July weekend presented the older and the younger members of the club with an opportunity to play with, and against, each other. About 30 members, evenly split between old and young, came together on a Saturday morning for a couple of hours of play.

"The fact we could get people to show up on Saturday morning was pretty amazing to me," said Mr. Kelly, who is almost as good a shuffleboard player as he is an organizer of shuffleboard events. On that day, however, he met defeat from the cue sticks of men almost double his age. "We played three games of doubles, for a nickel each," he said. "I ended up playing two games and handing over two nickels." His wife played the third game for him.

For Mrs. Eldridge, who had been fretting for years about the club's demise, the new players are "a dream come true." Before this summer she spent most Friday nights at home. Now she spends them coaching new players, organizing competitions, and once, in late July, handing out free ice cream to those who reached 75 points in a tournament. She is also the proud owner of an iPod, a gift from Mr. Kelly and other new members.

"I like this," she said as she sat in the sweltering clubhouse while a track from the White Stripes played over the courts. "It was busy for 60 years, and then we hit a lull for the last 20 years. So I like this a lot!"

The younger members are also working to raise money to renovate the club, lobbying St. Petersburg's director of urban planning and historic preservation as well as getting the mayor, Rick Baker, 49, to make the five-acre club an element in the revitalization of the city's downtown. On Thursday, Mr. Kelly and other members presented Mr. Baker, who played the odd game with his family at the club this summer, with a trophy for his victory in a mini-tournament.

Mr. Clark said he hopes interest in shuffleboard will lead to other things in St. Petersburg. "Shuffleboard is actually a side note to what's really happening here," he said. "The reality is we've created a social outlet for all age groups and demographics."

Plans are afoot for card games, film screenings, lecture series, perhaps even art shows and live music, to take place in the clubhouse when the weather gets cooler. And like a Friendster link come to life, some unexpected reunions have occurred at the Friday shuffleboard games. Mr. Cohen bumped into an old friend from Indiana University, and at least one romance has bloomed. Tami Shadduck, 26, a health care coordinator, met Josh Wallace, 28, a contractor who returned a few months ago from a job in Iraq, while playing him in a doubles match. "It all started at the St. Pete Shuffleboard Club," she wrote in an e-mail message. "Many a flirting Friday later."

With Friday night turnout growing every week, Mr. Kelly has started printing and selling "St. Pete Shuffle" T-shirts to patrons and players for $15 each. While merchandising is a part of any modern success story, Mr. Clark is thinking big league. "My dream," he said, "is to see ESPN cover the national championships from the St. Pete Shuffle Courts."

Monday, August 4, 2008

Play shuffleboard with Spongebob

I bet you've never played shuffle under water before. Go here to try, you know you want to.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

It's so hot outside, I thought you deserved a float

From the archive, this St Petersburg Shuffleboard Club 'Parade of States' float ran in two parades, the 1938 and '39, was powered by a 1933 Pierce-Arrow 462 cubic inch V-12 engine that generated over 175 hp and had a top cruising speed of 110 mph. The float was later believed to have been donated to the war effort.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

St. Pete Times Article - Mirror Lake Donations Could go for Repairs

By Cristina Silva, Times Staff Writer
In print: Wednesday, July 30, 2008

ST. PETERSBURG — City officials are considering using thousands of dollars donated by preservation activists to repair several code compliance violations at the historic Mirror Lake Complex...

Click here for the full story.

St. Pete Times Letter to the Editor - Mirror Lake site deserves respect

In print: Wednesday, July 30, 2008

City cites its own landmark July 22

Mirror Lake site deserves respect

The condition of the historic Mirror Lake Complex site, including its shuffleboard court, represents a disgraceful lack of action on the part of St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker, City Council and city services administrator, Clarence Scott.

Scott's comment, "The city is cautious about how we proceed because we are spending taxpayers' dollars," contradicts the demand by residents that "it" be fixed. I agree with the comments made by Chris Kelly, founder of St. Pete Shuffle: "Neglect is a strategic decision … allowing the building to get to the point where it cannot be economically restored."

I feel fixing the complex doesn't fit into Baker's plan for downtown development. I call for Baker and Scott to be held accountable for their giving development priority over the preservation of our city's oldest such complex, the oldest such facility in our nation. History is worthy of our respect and care.

Nancy Daly, St. Petersburg

St. Pete Times Article - St. Pete Violates own Codes at Landmark

By Cristina Silva, Times Staff Writer
In print: Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Broken windows in the men’s bathroom are just one of the several code violations that the city has cited itself for at the Mirror Lake Complex. The five violations were recorded in January, but only one of the problems has been fixed...

Click here for the full article.

Swimwear Fashionistas Pose at Shuffle

Check out these shots of swimwear fashionably modeled at our shuffleboard courts.