Gary Jones and Michele Lamo win Downey Elks Sweethearts
Downey, CA. – Long Beach’s Gary
Jones and Orange County’s Michele Lamo won the first annual
Sweethearts Tournament at the Downey Elks over the Valentine’s
day weekend as the winners did it the hard way coming back from
the loser’s bracket to defeat Arizona’s Terry Leahy
and Linda Churchman in the finals held late Saturday evening (February
The win marked the third time Jones has finished on top in the
last few months, following wins in
the Billy Chiles Memorial at the Huntington Beach Moose Lodge
in September and the California State Amateur Doubles championship
at the same venue in October. The win also marked the return of
Ms. Lamo to the Southern California tournament circuit, as she
had not played in some time. Rosewood Pub owner B.B. Boik was
the sponsor of both of the top two teams.
Leahy and Churchman had cruised through the winner’s bracket
to face the Jones and Lamo team in the winner’s playoff
match of undefeated teams late Saturday afternoon. The Arizona
team made quick work of the local team by knocking them into the
finals of the loser’s bracket where they squared off against
Downey’s Chris Brown and her first-time tournament player
and partner Elks official Larry Cole of South Gate. It was a dramatic
Gary Jones lag, with the score tied at 14-14, which won the game
for the eventual tournament winners. Cole drew high praise from
the packed crowd at the Elks in holding up his end in the loser’s
bracket finals. Brown and Cole finished in third place.
Jones and Lamo win set up the rematch with Leahy and Churchman
in the finals of the first Downey Elks tournament since the California
Shuffleboard Hall of Fame tournament that inducted George Lucas
in the late 1990’s. The Jones-Lamo connection then proceeded
to take two consecutive matches from the Leahy and Churchman team
to win the tournament late Saturday night.
Ten teams of sweethearts participated in the event, with the
fun teams of Leahy and Churchman and Gil and Linda Aragon traveling
the furthest from Arizona to participate. The entry fee and sponsor
money totaled $1400 and was paid out to the tournament’s
top three teams. Norwalk’s Garry Gareau prepared and maintained
the Elks three fast shuffleboards for the tournament with the
former owner of the Dixie Belle Restaurant Eileen Edes handling
food coordinator duties for all in attendance. Long Beach’s
Bob Naretta computerized the event’s sign-ups and Ms. Brown
handled the team auctions, bracketing and served as the tournament
A unique aspect of the tournament was the handicapping system,
initiated by Tournament Director Chris Brown, that didn’t
limit who could play based on ratings. Players in the event had
ratings from zero to four with combined team ratings from three
to eight. The three placing teams were rated a combined five,
five and six.
The Downey Elks lodge also held a 50/50 draw over the weekend
with the proceeds going to the handicapped children of Rancho
Los Amigos Hospital in Downey for a sponsored trip to Disneyland.
The event was a Downey Elks project and the winner was Ms. Brown
and with her new found funds promptly stood the bar a round.
The “Sweethearts Weekend” continued on Sunday with
round robins and karaoke. The event was a huge success with many
promises by participants to return next year to the comfortable
Downey Elks facility and the wonderful world of shuffleboard.
Pacific Coast Shuffleboard News