WSA Shuffleboard History - Farnsworth.pdf
By Historian-Jack Sell in collaboration with Jo-Anne Sell


In 1965 meetings were held in California regarding the formation of a shuffleboard association comprised of states west of the Mississippi. California contacted Arizona and a meeting was held in Mesa, February 18,1966 and a Western Association was formed. California was an established association and Arizona was in its third year. The first tournament was to be held in Arizona in 1967, then alternate between Arizona and California. These were to be singles tournaments.

In 1966 the association approached the National Shuffleboard Association seeking membership and asking to be known as the Western National Shuffleboard Association. Both requests were denied. Following the refusal they renamed the association the Western Shuffleboard Association.

The WSA singles tournament was held at Pioneer Park in Mesa, Arizona. There were 179 entries. In 1968 the first any doubles tournament was held at Tramsview Park, Palm Springs.

The WSA continued to struggle to gain acceptance by the NSA partially due to the existence at that time of many splinter groups. Finally in 1970 there were recognized officially by the NSA. Founding members continually promoted the WSA as a means to promote organized shuffleboard to the west, travelling and corresponding with Utah, Texas, Nevada, Iowa and Colorado.

The 1973 annual meeting was held in Downey, California. Discussion was held regarding the difference in rules between California and Arizona, primarily the method for establishing color choice. California used the lag for color choice, Arizona did not. The decision was made to establish a set of rules for the WSA and a set of rules was published. Differences of opinion between Arizona and California meant that rules were a topic of discussion for several years. During the early years the WSA held many singles and doubles tournaments in both California and Arizona. By the late 70's players were becoming reluctant to travel 100's of miles to play in tournaments. Also interest in shuffleboard in both California and Arizona had steadily risen. A new problem arose for the WSA, there weren't enough open weeks during the shuffleboard season to hold their tournaments. A rise in gasoline prices and hotel rates meant fewer and fewer players were willing to travel to play in tournaments. Finally it was becoming difficult to find people willing to serve on the WSA executive. Every one agreed that the WSA had a valuable role to play in shuffleboard, therefore every effort had to be taken to ensure its survival.

The 1979 annual meeting was held in Tucson. The focus of the meeting was the development of the a closer relationship between the CSA, ASA and the WSA. A major concern was the setting of dates for tournaments. At this time the WSA was holding both singles and doubles tournaments at venues in both California and Arizona.

During a meeting held in Palm Springs November 11,1980 the idea of a team tournament was first proposed. The purpose was to instill new ideas, competition and more player participation. Participation would consist of teams from states and provinces west of the Mississippi. The team captains were designated by the WSA officers. It was decided the tournament would be named "Western State/Province Team Tournament."

The first team tournament was held in Mission Viejo, California, December 1,1981. Teams of ten to eleven players came from California, Arizona, Washington and British Columbia. The winning team was California, second British Columbia and Arizona and Washington tied for third.

The second WSA team tournament was held in Mission Viejo, California December 14-17,1982. Teams were to consist of 12 players and the entry fee was $3.00 per player. In order to boost team participation it was decided to allow states and provinces to enter two teams until such time as enough states and provinces were participating to make a viable tournament. Teams entered from California (2), British Columbia (2), Saskatchewan (2), Washington and Arizona. Winners were British Columbia 1 first, California South second. Efforts to enlist teams from Alberta, Colorado and Oregon were unsuccessful at this time. The WSA continued to host singles and any doubles tournaments.

The third WSA team tournament was held November 27,1983 again at Mission Viejo, California. Ten teams participated with new teams coming from Colorado, Alberta, Iowa, and Oregon. California South, British Columbia and Arizona D-2 were the winning teams.

At the annual meeting the number of teams allowed per state or province again came up for discussion. It was decided that each state or province could field 2 teams. Residency of the players was also questioned and it was decided that teams could be composed of any available players for a period of two years.

Support and enthusiasm for the team tournament continued to grow and the fourth tournament hosted 21 teams. This tournament was held in Mesa, November 11-17,1984. The increase in size of the tournament presented some logistical problems with scheduling, length of play and locations. Limiting the number of teams to 16 or 18 was discussed. Rules again were becoming a problem. After following the WSA rules for a number of years the WSA reverted to following the rules of the state they were playing in. It was decided that the WSA would again establish a set of rules that would be followed at all WSA tournaments. The WSA continued to host both singles and doubles tournaments each year.