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20240131 Venus Miller shuffleboard webAs Venus Hall and I walked over to some bleachers away from the competitors to sit for this interview, the native “Okie” just climbed up to the top row as if he was 40 years old, younger than me, more stable on his feet and the only shuffling coming when he’s shuffle boarding either at Snow to Sun Park or during the current Golden Age Olympics with his wife Betty.

As we took our seats, I sat one row below while he easily took a spot on the top row, the first thing I asked him was if the rumors were true that he was 102 years old.

“January 13, 1922,” he quickly replied.

From the Army, to living and working on a ranch “for a whole big $4 per day” to turning a crappie pole into a shuffleboard stick, Hall was as fascinating to talk to as it was to watch his wife Bettie play shuffleboard – winning a state championship twice and an international title once.

“Man, she’s just won about everything,” Venus said. The couple met in Missouri and Betty needed to wait six years before she could retire. After that, some friends invited them to come check out life as Winter Texans. They came to visit and are now going on their 26th year at Snow to Sun.

20240131 Gloria Taylor shuffleboard web“They gave us some sticks and said, ‘Here, you are going to want to learn how to shuffleboard’,” he said. “We just got hooked on it.

“We both started and here we still are. Everybody just likes it. She’s still competitive. I just play. But we’re still shuffling.”

The rumors about Venus shuffling with a crappie pole is widely known among the shufflers. He confirmed this one as well.

“I saw this pole leaning up against a tree at a yard sale and asked how much for it – just a couple dollars. I told Betty I’m going to make a stick out of that. She said you can’t do that. So, I took it home, put it in the shop and made it, and there I went with it.”

After three years in the Army, which Venus rightly admits he didn’t like, he took a job in a machine shop and then lived on a ranch and worked there. A few years later he took a job at the Continental Oil Company, where he stayed for 25 years before retiring.

A two-time international champion himself, Venus added that he and his wife still play regularly at the park three days a week.

His “baby,” a daughter, is 70 years old and his oldest, a son, is 80.

“We had ‘em young,” he said. I went to the army and came back – I didn’t like the army. My idea is that there shouldn’t be any army in any way. I was 20 and I thought I was doing right. But it was a bad deal.”
He may be 102, but his mind is extremely sharp, his conversations are light and enjoyable, and the biggest thing is that he knows the secret to longevity.

“I don’t gamble,” he started off. “I don’t smoke, don’t chew, I don’t dip, and I don’t do drugs … And I don’t do wild women.”