Warrensburg – In an age which computers and gaming systems reign supreme, a Warrensburg playing card club bridges people together for good old-fashioned fun.

Warrensburg Duplicate Bridge Club members meet every week to play bridge, a card game which members work in pairs to compete against opponents.

Club manager Ann Houx said the Warrensburg card club has been around for over 60 years. She said she has been a member for about 55 years.

Houx said she first began playing bridge in 1957, when she and friends played at the Student Union Building on what was then Central Missouri State College. Houx said bridge challenges the minds of players and the game also develops friendships amongst members.

Houx said bridge is a sophisticated game that challenges the mind.

“You have to try to keep track of 52 cards as they’re played,” Houx said. “It challenges you to win.”

Club member Carolyn Wheat said she has been a member of the club for 12 years. She said she enjoys the atmosphere of playing with club members.

Wheat said bridge is more personal than playing games online. Technological games can be lonely – more for a single player or for couples, she said. Bridge allows someone to be personable and play with a group, she said.

“Love is a need, food is a need, air is a need. I think being with other people is a social need that we should develop,” Wheat said.

“Thanks to bridge, I have met a new family of friends,” Wheat said. “(Bridge) really helps develop brain cells,” Wheat said. “I also do crossword puzzles and sudoku, but this is a teeny bit more challenging.”

She said players are friendly.

“You might do well and then again you might not,” she said. “There’s no criticism. When you do well, people usually say that was nice – nicely played.”

She said members bring in snacks for everyone.

Wheat said she would like for the younger crowd to pick up the game. Wheat said she understands the game is not for everyone though.

“I didn’t start playing until I was in my 40s, so I have a lot to learn,” Wheat said.

A 32-year club member Judy Mento said bridge teaches players to learn how to work with teammates.

She said challenging herself to get better is a fun part of the game.

“I feel like I’m always competing against myself to do better than what I’ve done before,” Mento said.

Mento said she began playing bridge about 34 years ago, when she was in Lake Charles, Louisiana. She received a call from a friend to play. She said being new to the game made her first experience playing a difficult one. Mento said being a member of the Warrensburg Duplicate Bridge Club has polished her skills quite a bit.

Mento credited the late Jimmie Melvin for building the club’s popularity and for giving players lessons to help improve their game.

“She just had a brilliant mind. If I wanted to know what was the best way to do something or to think about something, I would ask her,” Mento said.

“(Melvin) got people interested in (bridge),” She was very instrumental in getting new people interested and teaching them,” she said. “(Melvin) really helped keep our bridge club going.”

“I picked up a lot of really excellent information from her. (She) really helped improve my game and everybody’s game, who had the pleasure of being tutored by her,” Mento said.

Mento said her mom played bridge quite often.

“I never thought I would like (bridge). I (could not) see how she sits there that long, but now I understand,” she said.

Members of the Warrensburg Duplicate Bridge Club joined bridge players from Marshall, Sedalia and Boonville, to play in an event called “Longest Day,” Monday at VFW Post 4195, 56 N.E. Highway, Knob Noster. Longest Day is an event fundraiser which raises money for the Alzheimer’s Association.

Houx said the event lasted from 1 to 9 p.m. and players raised more than $500 for the cause.

First-place winners in the event included teammates Wheat and Mento.

To become a member, call Ann Houx at (660) 747-9890.

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