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Annual domino tournament returns this weekend

After a 1-year absence, the 45th Annual World Championship Domino Tournament returns to Andalusia Friday and Saturday, July 9 and 10.

This year’s tournament features a $5,000 first place prize to the winner in the singles competition and $2,500 each to winners in doubles, with more than $20,000 in cash prizes guaranteed. The Rotary Club has awarded more than $1 million in prize money in the history of the tournament.

The singles tournament begins at 8 a.m. Friday and the doubles tournament starts at 8 a.m. Saturday.

The World Championship Domino Tournament will be held at the Kiwanis Community Center in Andalusia this weekend.

In addition, the club will host a Fantastic Domino Sweepstakes and seafood dinner Friday night with a $15,000 prize.

Early registration is $100 per player for adult singles or doubles. There is a $10 fee for late registration. The club also has tournaments for teens and children.

Rotary Foundation Board president David Darby shared how citizens from all across the United States have visited Andalusia and participated. “We’ve had people from all 50 states and some foreign countries come to compete. They look forward to the event each year.”

Proceeds of the Domino Tournament are used to support local charities. As a result of the WCDT, the club is able to provide $30,000 to $40,000 per year for community causes.

The tournament, which first began in 1976, has been held annually and returns for 2021 after the 2020 event was cancelled due to COVID-19. Darby said precautions would be in place this year due to the pandemic. “We will have the tables spread out a little bit further. Masks will be offered at the discretion of participants but are not required. We will also be sanitizing and cleaning on a steady basis,” he stated.

Former Andalusia Mayor Chalmers Bryant challenged each civic club to do something special to celebrate the country’s bicentennial. When it was announced at a Rotary Club meeting, Dr. Charles Tomberlin suggested a domino tournament. Although no vote was taken, the measure passed. Dr. Tomberlin has been instrumental in the tournament since its inception and still participates to this day.

Famous faces that have participated in the tournament include Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, Jerry Clower, and Doug Barfield.

At one time, there also was a Miss Domino pageant, which is now partnered with the Distinguished Young Woman program. This year’s queen is Ada Short.

Chick Earle won the singles championship of the first tournament ever played in 1976. He is one of three Andalusians to win along with Heskew Lane in 1977 and 2002 and Dallas Henderson who won in 1978.

Chris Authement of Baton Rouge, La., is the defending singles champion from 2019. Eddie Kuban of Needville, Texas, and Michael Lambert III of Santa Rosa Beach, Fla., are the defending doubles champions.

For full tournament rules and online registration visit worldchampionshipdomino.com.

This year’s event will be held at the Kiwanis Community Center in Andalusia. “We are looking forward to being back after a year away and excited about the opportunity to once again showcase the game of dominoes to a wide audience,” Darby said.