SEBRING - Judy Holloway and Colleen Austin had never teamed up before the start of the 83rd Orange Blossom Classic shuffleboard tournament on Thursday.
That fact didn't keep the talented duo from finishing first in the women's doubles main event in the two-day tournament and taking home the first place prize money.
"This was our first time together," said Holloway. "The key to our winning was we were relaxed and we had fun."
The Orange Blossom Classic is one of the oldest and most prestigious shuffleboard tournaments in the Sunshine State and is sanctioned by the Florida Shuffleboard Association.
Glenna Earle and Linda Marshman placed second in women's doubles, Jeannie Andrews and partner Judy Taylor came in third and Cecile Messier and Charlotte Steadman claimed fourth place.
Holloway, who lives in Sebring, and Austin, who lives in Lee County, had to do it the hard way, by upsetting a pair of hall of fame shufflers in Friday's finals.
"We won the semifinals in two games," Holloway said. "It was a tough match in the finals against some very good players and it went three games. "We had so much fun and Colleen and I have already scheduled to play together in next year's Orange Blossom Classic."
Holloway, who has been playing shuffleboard for nine years, enjoys the competition and the camradarie among the shufflers.
"There are great people at the Sebring Recreation Club," Holloway said. "I enjoy the sport and the people who play."
The professional shufflers were competing for $4,000 in cash prize.
In the women's consolation event, Nancy MacLean and Doris Bumstead finished first, Mamie Morton and Rosemary Comeau came in second place, Linda Sines and Lynne Shick took third and Sharon Rohman and Barbara Fournier finished fourth.
Dave Kudro and Mel Erb won the men's main event, Stan Williamson and David Earle placed second, Doug Stockman and Hubert Vaneerd came in third place and John Bushee and Ed Straub claimed fourth.
In the men's consolation event, Paul Prescott and Phil Rebholz finished first, Jean Guy Allaire and Dan Morgan came in second, Tom Clayton and Lowell Jones were third and Dewayne Renwick and partner Peter White came in fourth place.
Shuffleboard has expanded in popularity over the last decade as many of the Baby Boomer generation has started to retire and are drawn to the sport.
The Orange Blossom Classic would not be possible without the generous support of the many local sponsors.
For more information on the sport, contact the Sebring Recreation Club at 385-2966.