When the owners of a local bridge club decided to retire at the end of the year, a passionate group of card players took action to ensure its survival.
Bridge of Tulsa, at 6205 E. 61st St., has become a way of life for Carol Gammell and other senior citizens, some of whom play there about every day of the week. Many of them joined the long-running club to keep their minds sharp after retirement.
Gammell believes playing bridge helps stave off Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. The strategic card game stimulates the brain and exercises people’s ability to remember details, she said.
Several members she plays with are in their 90s and remain “sharp as tacks.”
“We have engineers. One of us went to (the Massachusetts Institute of Technology),” Gammell said. “I have a Ph.D. in English. These are all people who very much want to keep their intellectual faculties, and bridge is one of the best ways to do that.”
Bridge of Tulsa has changed hands a few times since its start in the early ’80s. After more than two decades, the current owners announced they’ll retire at the of the year.
Because it’s not a money-making venture, Gammell said the club couldn’t be sold on the open market.
That’s why she and a group of newer members, whose ages range from about 62 to 72, collaborate to create a new club at the same location and invite everyone over.
The only major difference is that it’ll have a new name and a new board of directors. Route 66 Bridge Club will replace Bridge of Tulsa in January.
Gammell said this new iteration also will be focused on attracting more people. The club has about 100 members right now. The goal is to double that number.
The best way to do that is to speed up the intimidating learning curve required to compete with veteran players.
Beginning Feb. 1, Route 66 Bridge Club will offer what’s being called EasyBridge lessons for those who want to learn the ropes or get better.
“It is targeting people who have never played the game and people who know the game but would like to improve their skills, especially in the realm of duplicate bridge,” Gammell said.
The lessons will be from 10 a.m. to noon every Saturday for 15 weeks. The first four lessons are free, while the rest will cost $8 each.
Anyone interested in signing up for EasyBridge or joining Route 66 Bridge Club may contact Gammell at 918-232-0666 or email@example.com.