VERO BEACH – When the City of Vero Beach plays host to the 50th anniversary of the Florida Shuffleboard State Pro Masters in April, the area can expect to see $1.2 million come with it.
Between 100 and 200 people are expected to travel to the city between April 5 and 8 to watch 16 of the state’s best shuffleboard players take to the courts at Pocahontas Park.
That means more hotel stays, more dinners at local restaurants and more people out enjoying what the city and county have to offer, according to Susan Hunt, of the Indian River County Chamber of Commerce.
“It’s bringing in people from all over Florida,” Hunt said. “It’s really exciting. We’ve never had this tournament before.”
This is the first time in 20 to 25 years that the Florida Shuffleboard Association has selected an east coast city to host the annual Masters tournament, according to Jeannie Andrews, of the Vero Beach Shuffleboard Club.
Members of her club filled out the application and provided information about the area to the shuffleboard association’s selection committee.
“You just have to hope” they’ll select you, Andrews said, adding that all the clubs want to host the tournament so they don’t have to travel for it.
Of the 16 top competitors – who have not yet been determined – the Vero Beach Shuffleboard Club expects to have at least three, including Andrews.
“The points are so close,” she said to determine who the top eight men and top eight women are.
Also expected to compete are Sheri Weese, of Vero Beach, and Chuck Stanburge, of Ft. Pierce, who is a member of the Vero Beach club.
Each of the 16 competitors plays 21 games to determine the bragging rights for the “Best of Florida” over the course of four days.
“It’s a game of strategy,” Andrews said, “not just knocking the discs around.”
The best players plan their move, figure where to land the disc and then go in for the attack.
The City of Vero Beach’s Recreation Department will be helping the club host the tournament by providing seating and a tent, and cleaning up the area.
“It’s a great event for the community,” said Recreation Director Rob Slezak. Being chosen to host the tournament “says a lot for the club and the work it’s doing.”
The Florida Shuffleboard State Pro Masters tournament will be held 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily from April 5 to 8. The games are free to spectators and there will be free parking nearby.
Anyone wishing to volunteer to help keep the tournament flowing smoothly should contact Jeannie Andrews at (772) 359-2945.