He is the voice of the Oregon Tech Hustlin’ Owls and the Klamath Falls Gems, providing radiowave excitement for many.

But while Bobby Thompson is proclaiming the achievements of others most of the time, Thompson has become the greatest Klamath Falls has ever seen in his very own sport.

By accumulating 5,000 master points within the American Contract Bridge League, Thompson has become part of an elite group, a Diamond Life Master in duplicate bridge, the first ever in Klamath Falls.

The ACBL consists of nearly 167,000 players throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico, and Thompson ranks among the top 2,350 by achieving his new title.

“He enjoys broadcasting more than bridge, but he is accomplished at both, probably equally accomplished at both,” friend and bridge partner Doug Higgs said. “He is a very good bridge player.”

Talking with some of Thompson’s closest friends, one name that came up repeatedly was Bobby’s late wife, Virginia, who Bobby partnered with to earn a majority of his career points.

“Bobby and (Virginia) were a formidable pair,” Higgs said. “For years, they dominated the scene here in Klamath Falls with bridge. They both taught and gave so much.

“Bobby was really, really committed to Virginia. They were very, very close. She was his favorite partner of all time. If you were to ask Bobby who his favorite partner overall was, without a doubt it would be Virginia.”

Formidable opponents against other pairs, the pair was also formidably giving.

“Bobby was my first mentor in bridge,” friend and bridge partner, Harvey Bush, said. “He and his wife Virginia taught a beginner class when I first started. He has given so much for little or nothing. He mentored all of us, played and had games with us and everything.

“He brought us along, and he has done that his entire life with people.”

It has been that generosity and kind heart that has made Thompson such a wellknown and beloved figure in Klamath Falls.

“If there is somebody who doesn’t like Bobby, they’re keeping it a secret because if they let people know, they would become unpopular,” Higgs said.

“I feel real good about (Bobby’s accomplishment). It’s a good achievement and he’s earned it.”

bsommers@heraldandnews.com; Twitter @BAsportswriter.