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Losing your marbles? Find them at the tourney this weekend

SHERIDAN — Start polishing your marbles; rain or shine the third annual Sheridan City Marble Championship is Saturday at the Thorne-Rider Park basketball court at 10 a.m.

If the weather is bad, the event will move into the indoor hitting facility. It is free to play in the tournament.

There will be a marble seminar before the tournament starts to go over the rules, history and how to play marbles. A practice start will be allowed before the games begin.

“Marbles is a way for any kid to be an athlete,” director John Owings said. “Kids are not limited by athletic ability to play marbles, even kids with disabilities can play this game.”

For the first game, shooters will shoot to a line and whoever is closest to the line gets to go first. They will then continue to play until they miss a marble. In the second game, the loser of the first game will go first.

This is a double elimination tournament with 25 marbles in a game. The player with the most marbles at the end wins. Your shooter marble must not be bigger than 3/4 inch.

All boys and girls in first through fifth grade are invited to play. Divisions will be set by grade and a champion will be crowned in each division, with all participants receiving an award. The division champions will have a shoot off game to determine who the city league champion is. There will be plaques for first, second and third place. Each division winner will receive an agate shooter.

Participants also get to keep the marbles that they win.

If you have any questions contact the director, John Owings at 672-5597 or 752-1424.

The object of marble games is to shoot your marble from the outside circle trying to knock a marble on the inside out of the circle. The player who has the most marbles when all the marbles are out of the circle wins.

Sheridan has a strong history of marble competitions. There are quite a few Sheridan locals who play in the city marble leagues, and even went on to the national marble tournament, Owings said. Back before the ‘70s, there were more than 30 participants for each age division. Each school in Sheridan County use to have a tournament and those champions would play each other to determine a city champion. The city champion would then go onto regionals, state and nationals.

The national tournament has been around for 91 years. This year’s tournament will be in Wildwood, New Jersey, June 16-19. Marble players will compete for many prizes including college scholarships.

In the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, marble competition in Sheridan dwindled due to the introduction of electronic games. Kids stopped playing marbles after school to play Pac-Man.

Owings decided to reintroduce marbles in Sheridan, and with help from a lot of volunteers he brought the tournament back.

The first year, there were only a few players. The next year, the number of participants doubled, and last year the numbers tripled.

 

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