St. Pete club celebrates a decade of free shuffleboard

By Virginia Johnson, Entertainment Host / Reporter
Last Updated: Tuesday, June 23, 2015, 5:58 PM EDT

It’s filled with history, romance and good old-fashioned cutthroat competition and fun.

Shuffleboard.

Yes, shuffleboard.

I’m talking about the St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club, situated in downtown St. Petersburg just north of Mirror Lake.

It’s gone in and out of vogue, from wintering snowbirds in the 1930’s playing by the hundreds, to hipsters and now the wider public rediscovering its uniqueness — even getting married there.

Construction on the courts and buildings begin in the mid 1920’s. It’s the oldest club of its kind in the world.

And every Friday night from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., they host a free event — the St. Pete Shuffle.

It’s been part of the club’s lineup for a decade and remains popular, according to Executive Director Christine Page.

She’s been part of the club for a decade as well, starting as a volunteer.

"It's a really big important part of St. Pete recreational history," said Page. "You can come here -- our volunteers will teach you how to play."

Page offers a quick lesson on the courts, with a two-pronged stick called a cue and a set of four flat discs for each opponent.

The court stretches 52 long and six feet wide with delineated triangles each end.

Score points by gently holding your cue, cradling your disc between the cue prongs and softly pushing the disc toward the triangle.

Page’s advice: hit it smoothly and “aim before you shoot!"

Page says the only rule when shooting is not crossing the triangle line with your foot.

The top of the triangle is 10 points, the second level is eight points, the third level is worth seven points and the bottom level is the triangle is worth negative 10!

"The trick is to count as a point it can't be touching any of the lines," further explained Page.

And not only do you try to score — you try and stop your opponent from scoring as well.

"You want to play mean,“ said Page, of the opponent. “You want to knock them out--if they get in the -10 area, you want to block them so they can't get out. It's really frustrating!"

The cut-throat competition is broken up by music — sometimes live — and food trucks.

And if you can't keep your disc on the court, you can perhaps shuffle your sorrows away – this event is B.Y.O.B.