Couple competes, learns from each other at shuffleboard meets

Friday, June 10, 2011 | 2:07 p.m. CDT; updated 5:02 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, June 14, 2011

COLUMBIA — The halls of Hearnes Center were silent as Robert Brumback, 75, watched his puck glide toward the opposite end of the court.

"It can stop any day now," Brumback said with a laugh.

The puck slid off the court.

Brumback was one of many participants in the Missouri State Senior Games doubles shuffleboard competition attempting to keep their pucks on the board Friday morning. Brumback competed in the event with his wife, Ruth Brumback, 70.

Shuffleboard involves using a long broomlike paddle to push a heavy puck down a narrow passageway with just enough force for the puck to come to a stop in a designated goal area. 

The Brumbacks, from St. Ann, have been playing shuffleboard together for 12 years and have competed in doubles shuffleboard at the Missouri State Senior Games for 10 years.

"I taught her everything she knows," Robert Brumback said.

"Not everything," Ruth Brumback responded with a laugh.

They enjoy coming back each year to the Missouri State Senior Games to compete against some of the same people.

"You see the same faces," Ruth Brumback said of the couple's annual participation. "We're the same age, so it's the same competition."

The Brumbacks compete in three shuffleboard meets each year and plan to travel to the Summer National Senior Games from June 16 to 30 in Houston. They also took third place in doubles shuffleboard at the 2009 Summer National Senior Games in Palo Alto, Calif.

"It's not a hard exercise, but it gets you up and moving. For older people, it's something they can enjoy," Robert Brumback said.

During the Missouri State Senior Games match on Friday, the Brumbacks helped each other out.

"When I have my off days, she has her good days," Robert Brumback said. "We just like doing it with each other and being a team."

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