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Bob Bourbeau

Reno YMCA
Inducted as a Player in 2004

Bob was born in Spokane, Washington June 2, 1935. Bob attended Gonzaga Prep, where he was one of their greatest athletes ever. He was a three sport athletic star, excelling in football, basketball, and baseball. He was all state in both football and baseball. Bob admittedly was an exercise and athletic nut, running a career best 2 hour 39 minute marathon and a 4 minute 45 second mile at age 40.

In 1960, at age 25, Bob started playing handball at the Spokane Elks Club. He picked handball, because he said it looked like a good sport to stay in shape. His specialty was singles, but he would play doubles as favors to his friends. By 1965 he was making a name for himself and was starting to win big tournaments.

Bob won the Seafair Open two years, the Western Regionals in Fresno, the Labor Day Open, and the Northern California Singles Tournament. After moving to Reno where he played most of his competitive handball, he won the Black Jack Tournament several times. He never lost a tournament match in Reno.

Bob reached the final eight in the National Singles Open Tournament three times and in 1967 placed third. In those days there was no professional division, all top players played in the open division. He defeated several nationally ranked players that are currently in the USHA Handball Hall-of-Fame.

At age 37, after only twelve short years, he abruptly stopped playing handball to concentrate on physical conditioning and his family. Similar to the premature retirement of the legendary NFL football star Jim Brown, Bob stopped far ahead of his prime. It was a sad day for handball, but if you know Bob it wouldn’t have surprised you. He has always been a very independent thinker, following his own drum beat.

Congratulations Bob, you are truly a great addition as a player to the Northern California Handball Hall-of-fame!