Ervand M. "Erv" Peterson, PhD.
Erv Peterson began playing croquet recreationally as a child in California. He continued recreational play as a graduate student in Ann Arbor, Michigan, before discovering tournament croquet in 1987 while living and working “Down Under.” Returning to Northern California in 1988, he met Tom Lufkin (McDonnell) and Drew Juvinall and joined the Sonoma-Cutrer Croquet Club where he began learning the game from Neil Spooner and Peyton Ballenger at the Meadowood Resort. The Arizona Open in March 1989 was Peterson’s first tournament and tournament win — first place in the B flight. He won the Northwestern Regional Championships in 1990 and 1991, the US Open in 1990 and then was selected to the 1991 US Solomon Trophy team — winning both of his singles matches.
In January of 1992, Peterson became the first American player to win a major international tournament in a foreign country by defeating Joe Hogan twice on the way to winning the Palmerston North City Club’s Tournament. He was selected to US MacRobertson Shield teams in 1993 (Rich River, Australia) and in 1996 (England).
While touring New Zealand with Maurice and Melanie Marsac in January of 1994, Peterson adopted the “crooked mallet.” John Scott developed this mallet in Napier and asked Peterson to play with the mallet and market it in the US. The next month, when he returned to the US, Peterson won the Arizona Open A flight championship with the new mallet.
During his playing career, Peterson played in seven Sonoma-Cutrer World Croquet Championships, two WCF World Championships, on five Solomon Trophy teams (twice captain) and five President’s Cup teams, numerous CALZONA competitions and has memorable wins at Meadowood and Sonoma-Cutrer. Recently, Peterson has served as manager for the 2010 and 2013-2014 US MacRobertson Shield teams.
The Sonoma-Cutrer Croquet Club (now Sonoma CC), in Windsor, California, has been his home club since 1988. It was at this time that Peterson also was invited to become a member of Ellery McClatchy’s Ink Grade Group in Angwin, California, which became very special in touching base with croquet history and the vision for its future in the US. These issues were often discussed courtside; along with numerous other notable topics, making the Ink Grade Group a cherished part of Peterson’s croquet experience.
Peterson, and friend Jerry Stark, wanted to help advance the level of US international play and to give US players more top-level competition. Developing international handicaps, certifying referees in Association Laws and the “8’s” were some of the ideas they generated. Peterson served two terms as USCA Regional Vice President for the Northwestern Region and he also served on numerous USCA committees: management, selection, nomination and handicaps. Locally, for seven years in Santa Rosa, Peterson conducted monthly public recreation classes in croquet, encouraging more people to take up the game. The best player to come out of that experience was Phil Arnold.
Born and raised in Sonoma County, Peterson earned his BA in geography from the University of California Santa Barbara, his MSC in environmental education and PhD in natural resources from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Peterson worked as environmental education co-director for the California Conservation Project (The Tree People), as assistant director for both the US National Parks Service and US Forest Service International Seminars and with US Fish and Wildlife as consultant to the Wildlife Institute of India and India Institute of Forest Management. He also launched and directed the School for Field Studies (SFS) program in Australia, establishing the SFS Center for Rainforest Studies in Far North Queensland in 1987.
Now, at 64, Peterson lives in a 10-year-old straw bale house on three acres in Petaluma, California, with his wife, Judie, and their three Italian greyhounds. Since 1988, he has been an adjunct professor of environmental studies and planning at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park.
Peterson’s long career of service to the sport of croquet in many arenas surely qualifies him for induction into the 2014 Hall of Fame.