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Warren Co. leaders find catharsis in croquet

Warrensburg Supervisor Kevin Geraghty takes aim at the croquet ball of Lake Luzerne Supervisor Gene Merlino (left) under the watchful eye of Croquetmaster Delbert Chambers (right) during the Supervisors Challenge croquet game held Aug. 11 at the Warren County Rural Heritage Festival. Regardless of Geraghty’s efforts to send the Luzerne supervisor’s ball off course, Merlino prevailed over five other county supervisors to win the challenge.

Warrensburg Supervisor Kevin Geraghty takes aim at the croquet ball of Lake Luzerne Supervisor Gene Merlino (left) under the watchful eye of Croquetmaster Delbert Chambers (right) during the Supervisors Challenge croquet game held Aug. 11 at the Warren County Rural Heritage Festival. Regardless of Geraghty’s efforts to send the Luzerne supervisor’s ball off course, Merlino prevailed over five other county supervisors to win the challenge. Barbara Whitford

— Six county supervisors took a short respite from the pressures of public policy and competed in a round of croquet at the Warren County Rural Heritage Festival held Saturday Aug. 11 on the county fairgrounds.

Dubbed the “Supervisors Challenge,” the politicians were recruited by Warrensburgh Historical Society Croquetmaster Delbert Chambers to boost countywide involvement in the festival.

Chambers was on the field to referee and resolve any rules dispute, which isn’t rare among politicians, but his judiciary talents weren't put to use.

The Supervisors Challenge didn’t have any of the contentious aspects of politics, observers noted, and the players each had a fair-sized entourage offering support from the sidelines.

The six players were a less than a third of the 20 county supervisors, so they didn’t represent a quorum, which would have squelched any talk about official business.

The croquet contest was intended to boost the sport, introducing 21st-century citizens people to the game that was very popular at the turn of the 20th century. It remained quite popular into the 1960s, then receded, but has recently experienced a resurgence, despite the advent of extreme sports.

In the 1890s, croquet could be considered somewhat extreme, in that young ladies would be watched carefully by their chaperones to make sure they did not expose an ankle when playing in the company of young men. No chaperones were visible at the 2012 Festival, however.

Participating in the coontest were county supervisors Kevin Geraghty of Warrensburg, Evelyn Wood of Thurman, Frank Thomas of Stony Creek, Gene Merlino of Lake Luzerne, Ron Vanselow of Johnsburg, and David Strainer of Queensbury.

With savvy tactics and accurate shots, Merlino won.

After the game, he described the competition as “fierce.”

“Host supervisor Kevin Geraghty really wanted to win, but I’m a person that doesn't like to come in second,” he said.

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