Kathy Messier deals cards for a cribbage game with Joe Hallstrom in the Sanford leg of the Great State of Maine Cribbage Tournament on Saturday at Back Street Grill. This Saturday, folks can take part in another leg of the tourney, at Waterboro Town Hall starting at 8:30 a.m. County and state championships will be held Sept. 30 at Saco Transportation Center. The  tournament benefits MemoryWorks, a non-profit that provides resources for people with dementia. TAMMY WELLS/Journal Tribune

Kathy Messier deals cards for a cribbage game with Joe Hallstrom in the Sanford leg of the Great State of Maine Cribbage Tournament on Saturday at Back Street Grill. This Saturday, folks can take part in another leg of the tourney, at Waterboro Town Hall starting at 8:30 a.m. County and state championships will be held Sept. 30 at Saco Transportation Center. The tournament benefits MemoryWorks, a non-profit that provides resources for people with dementia. TAMMY WELLS/Journal Tribune

YORK COUNTY — Those who like to play cribbage say not only do they like the game itself but also they like friendships formed around the card table.

On Saturday, folks have the chance to play and make new friends at the Great State of Maine Cribbage Tournament, a fundraiser for MemoryWorks, a nonprofit that provides resources for those with memory loss and dementia.

The Great State of Maine Cribbage Tournament is holding a playoff round at Waterboro Town Hall on Saturday, Sept. 23  starting at 8:30 a.m. For a $25 entry fee, a player can compete. If they win they move forward to county championship rounds. County winners, said MemoryWorks founder Ken Capron, advance to the state championship for a shot at a $2,500 grand prize. Both the county and state finals are set for the Saco Transportation Center on Sept. 30. 

Last Saturday, players took over the second floor of Back Street Grill in Sanford for a tourney as part of the county leg of the statewide event — owner Jim Paquette was among the players, as was his mother, Sue Raposa, and his grandfather, Joe Hallstrom.

Raposa said her father would play when he traveled on business. These days, she said, she and her father play frequently and her son Paquette is an avid player as well — making for three generations who enjoy the game.

Eldon Woodman, a retired Sanford High School teacher, was among the Sanford players. He said he learned how to play cribbage in 1962 when he was stationed in Germany with the U.S Army.

Now he plays several times a week, driving from his home in Sanford to Kennebunkport, where games take place at the historical society building.

There’s more to like than just the game itself, said Woodman.

“I like the camaraderie, the sharing of stories and the telling of  ‘lies,”’ he said with a smile. 

Capron,   former certified public accountant with a memory loss-related diagnosis, started MemoryWorks with a friend in 2013. He said the proceeds of the tournament will help the organization retain a paid executive director and a development director. Currently, he is busy doing all the advocacy for MemoryWorks, he said.

MemoryWorks offers more a dozen host sites in southern Maine called Memory Cafés, where anyone with dementia or memory loss, can go monthly to socialize, learn and have fun.

“Memory loss is frustrating for a lot of seniors. A lot of seniors feel they don’t have a voice anymore, and give up,” said Capron on Saturday at the Sanford tourney. 

He settled on a cribbage tourney, he said, because the game is so popular.

He pointed out that that 90 percent of those engaged in the tournament so far are 70 and older. 

“As I explore, I heard about games,” said Capron. He said about 16 people play three times a week in Kennebunk, in the midcoast, 40 people play twice a week in Wiscasset, and more games take place elsewhere in the state. 

After Waterboro, the next York County portion of the tournament is on Sept. 26 at Woodland Farms Brewery in Kittery.

Meanwhile, Waterboro Parks and Recreation Department is getting ready to host Saturday’s leg of the tournament. 

“I jumped at the chance to be a host site,” said Todd Smith of the recreation department.  

“Our seniors play cribbage here at Town Hall every Thursday plus two Saturdays a month,” he said. “They all want to participate in the tournament, plus it’s for a great cause!”

To preregister, visit www.cribbage.me or register at the location.

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 324-4444 (local call in Sanford) or 282-1535, ext. 327 or [email protected]


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