CLEARWATER BEACH, FL (WFLA) -This week Clearwater Beach has been selected to be the host city for the 34th Annual International Shuffleboard Association World Singles Championship.
“We have Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, England, Russia, Sweden, Poland, The United States and Vietnam for the first year,” said International Shuffleboard Association President Michael Zellner.
The Shuffleboard Championship has more than 110 shufflers from 13 countries that will compete all week to take home the coveted “Golden Cue” that goes to the top male and female competitors.
The U.S. National President is Sandi Queen and she has her own take on what countries to look out for this week.
“Between the U.S. and Canada it will be Fierce and the Germans are coming up strong. So they will be strong. Some countries are here for the first time so they will be a little weak but that’s good they can learn. The best way to learn is to play in the tournament,” Queen said before her first match.
And speaking of the Up and coming Germans, Sebastian Runge is from Germany and he decided to take up shuffleboard after his knees wouldn’t let him play soccer anymore.
“I had to do something. I am a competitor. I can’t sit down, I had to do something and I looked around to do something else and Shuffleboard nobody knows it before in Germany. Some friends and I started doing it in 2005 and since then I have been hooked,” Runge said as he was helping me work on shooting the disk.
The singles championship takes place every other year and Ken Offenther is the reigning singles champion. And although Offenther has a strategy, he knows competitors came from all over the world to dethrone him this year.
“I’m just going to do the best that I can. I got an arrow on my back from having the victory two years ago, but I’m just going to have a good time and what will happen will happen,”
No matter what happens, shufflers feel it’s an honor to compete wearing their countries colors.
“To represent your country in an international tournament gives you goose bumps. It’s exciting”, Queen said wearing a red visor with a red shirt that has the American flag in the shape of a ribbon across her chest.
The competition is free for spectators and runs through Friday at the Clearwater Shuffleboard Club located at: 1020 Calumet St.