The World Championships [Tournament Brochure] were the culmination of the Tribuno Men’s Circuit and included a women’s event. Forest Hills hosted the event on April 2-3.
Tribuno Wines raised prize money to $82,900 for the 1976–77 Tribuno Men’s Circuit, which consisted of nine events in Cleveland, Hartford, Rye, NY, Short Hills NJ, Chicago, New Canaan, CT, Washington, DC, and Scarsdale. The prize money for each of the first seven tournaments was $4,200, while the Scarsdale Nationals prize money was $6,500. On April 1 and 2, 1976, the tour culminated at the Tribuno Platform Tennis World Championship, held at Forest Hills, Queens, NY. Tribuno put up $15,000 for both the men’s and women’s events, with the winners earning $5,000, the largest purse in the sport. Without a doubt, this event was the pinnacle of commercially-sponsored platform tennis competition.
On a clear, beautiful day, platform tennis enthusiasts gathered at the famous tennis stadium to witness a historic event at center court. About five hundred spectators were in attendance, with general admission seats costing $6 and courtside box seats, $25. As stated in the media guide, “this world championship helped propel the sport into national prominence.”
A sculpture was commissioned to be the trophy for the event. However, Jay O’Meilia, a noted sports artist from Tulsa, Oklahoma, did not complete the trophy by the date of the championship final. Instead, he was to send a plaster model to Forest Hills for the presentation. Unfortunately, the airline lost it.
The May 1976 issue of Paddle Talk stated, “Russell and Gray received a check for $4,000 and the promise of a trophy for their victory in the climactic tournament of the Tribuno tour.”1
Also on the program, between the semis and the final, was a pro-celebrity event in which sportscaster Howard Cosell provided commentary on the cold and blustery day while holding tightly on to his hat and his hairpiece.
Note 1: See Jay O’Meilia sculpture