CLAYTON — There’s a barn on the southern edge of Hendricks County with some unusual occupants.
They call themselves the Mule Skinner Shuffle Crew. The “crew” are shuffleboard enthusiasts who gather to play and just have a good time.
“This barn and property had been owned by Jim Daum,” Ray Davis of Clayton explained. “He used this barn for his trucks and his radio handle was The Mule Skinner.”
Davissaid he bought the barn and house in 1997 after Daum had passed. The name kind of stuck with the group and the barn.
There are now four regulation size shuffleboard courts, mostly built by Davis.
“And all four are a little different,” Davis said. “Their speeds are a little different and they may slant a little different. Playing at each end is also different.”
Davis and his wife, Lois, started playing shuffleboard together and have made numerous friends over the years.
“You may play with someone you’ve never met before,” he said. “You’re sitting with them for a couple of hours so you talk and learn about each other. So when you walk away, you feel like you’ve made a new friend, whether you win or lose.”
The Davises are also members of the Indiana Shuffleboard Association, which was started by Don DeHart in the Franklin area. DeHart had been a school principal in both Nineveh and Trafalgar.
That group shuffles at the Franklin County Fairgrounds where there are six courts. They are limited in the summer time, especially during fair month.
Betty and Jim Weddle, Franklin residents, shuffle both in Franklin and in Clayton with the Mule Skinners.
“I’d say we average about 12 people every time we shuffle,” Betty said. “I think on the books we have about 75 members.”
The Indiana Association of Shufflers holds open hours Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturday mornings.