Ringer Digest
2021  State Tournament Issue
A Charter of the NHPA
Official Publication of the Minnesota Gopher State Horseshoe Pitchers' Association
The MGSHPA officers and directors would like to thank the Hibbing Horseshoe Club for hosting two great state tournaments. The conditions were great and the hospitality outstanding. Thank you for a job well done !

Janet Larson Captures 9th State Title
by Helen Hawkinson

     The A Class Women's Championship for 2021 was different than most any other year. Because of Covid 19 there were less pitchers than usually sign up and there was also an A Class pitcher (Lori York) that dropped out due to an unforeseen medical issue. That left 3 pitchers - Janet Larson (the 8th time defending champ), Helen Hawkinson and Patricia Stumpf (who had returned to Minnesota after living in South Dakota for several years) in the Women's Championship class, until the FIVE move-ups from the B Class.

     How exciting for the five B Class pitchers to compete to make the move up to the Championship Round! The five pitchers that made the cut were: Michelle Foard, Patti Oakes, Anna Pierce, Sarah Nelson and Tina Bussey. It was Sarah's first time pitching at State, first time in Championship Class AND she had just received the award for Rookie of the Year. There were some tough games pitched including the 2nd game between Patti and Helen who battled through 66 shoes before Helen won the game. Janet and Pat also had a long 64 shoe game before Janet pulled out the win for Pat's only loss of the day.

     Patti is always a fierce competitor and solid pitcher and pitched several great games. Anna pitched very well throughout the day and gave Janet a run for her money on the 2nd game with a 34 to 43 point game and ended with a 45.65% game. Michelle Foard pitched the highest game of her horseshoe career when pitching in B Class with a 65% game to help advance her to Championship round where she had 2 games over 55%.

     Tina wasn't going to sign up this year but was convinced by her father to sign up or he wouldn't pitch. It is a family tradition for the two of them, and although Tina hadn't practiced much this year and had a wedding the very next weekend - her 'own' wedding - gave it her all. Congratulations Tina!

      The ladies all played tough and with great sportswomanship. I am proud to be included in this A Class of ladies. At the end of the day, Helen Hawkinson took 3rd for the second year in a row, Pat Stumpf took 2nd and Janet Larson won her 9th consecutive State Championship Title. Great Job Janet!

L/R     Anna Pierce, Tina Bussey, Sarah Nelson, Patti Oakes, Michelle Foard, Pat Stumpf, Helen Hawkinson, Janet Larson

Women's Championship Class
Pat Stumpf 2nd,  Janet Larson 1st,  Helen Hawkinson 3rd

Women's B
Michelle Foard  2nd, Marlys Timm  1st, Patti Oakes  3rd

Women's C
Sue Pierce 2nd, Kelli Pierce 1st, Ashley Anderson 3rd

Ray Volkers wins Elder's Championship 
by Janet Larson

     The Elder's Class A was noticeably lacking a number of recent year regulars such as Henry Greenwaldt, Gene Eitriem and 2019's defending Champion Bill Danielson. Jim Aleckson had signed up, but was forced to withdraw at the last moment, leaving room for five move-ups from the lower classes all of which would come from Class B.

     Six of the pitchers in Class B pitched over their averages. Richard Bussey had both the highest percent and the highest over his average, with a ringer percent of 55.36. He would be followed into Class A by Dick Dvorak, John Pierce, Peter Heltunen and Jim Syverson. Unfortunately Jim never knew he made the 5th move-up spot and had already left for home. The other four would join the three seeded pitchers, Jerry Hokkala, Ray Volkers and Jeff Washburn.

     Ray, Jerry, Richard and Jeff all made it through the first four rounds relatively unscathed. Jeff had suffered just one loss to Dick in round three. However, the ringers would not come for either Jeff or Dick in the last three rounds, leaving them in the dust. Peter actually pitched over his average for the tournament and put up a good fight, but ultimately was no match for the top heavy hitters. John took an extreme beating by the big guys, getting hit with 76.47% from Jerry in round two, 67.65% from Ray in round three and 60.42% in the fourth round from Richard. John tied Jeff with three wins, edging him out slightly on ringer percent to capture fourth place, not bad for his first appearance in the Elder's Championship.

     Richard was on a roll, this was his weekend to shine. Entering Class B with 47.71%, he advanced to enter the championship competition 7.65% higher than that, but that was not enough for him. His only two losses in Class A would be to Ray and Jerry, he saved his best game for last, pitching 71.43% against Jeff and finished his second tournament in two days with 60.48%, 12.77% higher than where he started, placing him on the podium in third place.

     Ray also saved his best game for last, which was exactly where he needed it. Jerry and Ray both entered their last game of the day undefeated, with Jerry ahead of Ray based on ringer percent. Although it wasn't the longest game of the day, Jerry was part of that record in game five with Richard going 76 shoes, Ray and Jerry would battle it out through 66 shoes. After six prior appearances in the Elder's Championship, Ray finally was able to claim his first Elder Champion title. The best finish he had achieved in the past was second place to Sig Armitage back in 2016. Ray is a great example of perseverance and never giving up on a dream. Ray was also the recipient of the Edi Holland sportsmanship award this year, which goes to show what a class act he truly is. Congratulations to Ray Volkers, 2021 MN Elder's Division Champion!

R/L     Jerry Hokkala, Ray Volkers, James Syverson, Jeff Washburn, Richard Bussey,
 Peter Heltunen, Dick Dvorak

Elder's Championship Class
Jerry Hokkala 2nd,  Ray Volkers 1st,  Richard Bussey 3rd

Elder Men's B
Dick Dvorak 2nd, Richard Bussey 1st, Peter Heltonen 3rd

Elder Men's C
Bruce Henderson 2nd, Al Springer 1st, Richard Hunstad 3rd

Elder Men's D
Paul Olson  3rd, Art Longen  1st, 
 Phil Rodenberg 3rd

Joe Mueller - 2021 Men's State Champion !!!
By Josh Olson

     The 2021 State Tournament has come and gone. The Men's Championship was a very competitive class this year after having a year off from COVID. It was a cool Monday morning up in HibbingMN the site of the 2021 State Tournament. We had 8 men competing for the title and it was a dog fight all the way until the last game. Crazy to think going into game 7 we could have had a potential 4 way play off if the outcome did not happen the way it did, instead, we saw Joe Mueller capture his first State Men's Championship after only losing 1 game to Mark Smith, Joe would catch the other 3 of the top 4 seeded competitors on a low game and win the rest of his games, Nathan Dehkes came in 2nd after edging out on ringer percentage over defending champion Eric Dehkes, and 2 time champion Mark Smith. Mark would sneak out 3rd place and Eric would take 4th. I had a very exciting game against Nathan Dehkes, Nathan had started lights out during the 1st half of our game throwing 17 ringers out of the first 22 shoes, taking a commanding lead 34 to 1, the next 20 shoes went in my favor, I went 16 out of 20 and pulled off the upset of the year, 41-37. One reason why point games are played at this level in the game, the game is never over until it's over and someone reaches or goes over 40 points.
      Other highlights, Nathan posted the high ringer average for the Day pitching 56% almost 2% over his average, Joe Mueller our Champion pitched an impressive 52.43%, which was 13% over his qualifying average. Joe also was a move up from class B, congrats again Joe and to Nathan and Mark as well for placing in the top 3. We will see you all next year! 

L/R          Eric Dehkes, Josh Olson, Mark Smith, Nathan Dehkes, Joe Mueller Russ Girtz,           Jerry Werk, Ray Pierce Jr

Men's Championship Class
Nathan Dehkes 2nd,  Joe Mueller  1st,  Mark Smith  3rd

Men's B
Tom Prokop 3rd, Jerry Werk 1st, Joe Mueller 2nd

Men's C
Andy Olson 2nd, Steve Zeigler  1st, 
Todd Betterman 3rd

Men's D
Barry Schilling 2nd, Ryan Pierce 1st, Rory Pierce 3rd
Men's E
Roger Lodermeier 2nd, Al Blumer 1st, 
Colin Wanous 3rd

Men's F
Dave Anderson 2nd, Henry Brown 1st,
 Bruce Swenson 3rd

Annual State Membership Meeting was held Sunday in the arena. There were about 50 members present

Congratulations to our Junior and Cadet Champions and Award Winners

       Junior Champ Tristan Dehkes               Cadet Champ  Dominik Littell

Junior Class B Champion
Brenna Hagman

Junior Pitcher of the Year
Justice Martin
Cadet/Junior State Recap
By April Lynch
     This year at state we had 1 Cadet and 7 Juniors that competed Saturday afternoon. This year's A Class Junior champion is Tristan Dehkes with 6 wins & 0 losses averaging 27.50%. Wow that is 5.50 over average for Tristan. Marshal Swenson finished in 2nd place, Justice Martin finishing in 3rd place and Thomas Kremer in 4th place. The Junior B champion this year is Brenna Hagman with 6 wins and 0 losses averaging 11.67%. Brenna pitched 8.66% over average!  Dominik Littell is our CadetState champion with 3 wins & 3 Losses averaging 5.83% which puts him 2.02% over average. Olivia Betterman received 3rd place and Keven Hagman came in 4th place.
     Unfortunately, I couldn't watch this year because my class pitched at the same time, but I heard numerous comments from spectators about their amazing performances. I am so proud of these young pitchers and their accomplishments. After pitching the kids enjoyed some pizza together and then we headed over to the Paulucci Space Theatre for a show about Mars along with some Night Sky Viewing of constellations.
     Another amazing award I'd like to recognize is that Justice Martin received the 2021 Junior pitcher of the year award! Congratulations to Justice!!

2021 State Tournament Junior Pitchers
Kevin Hagman, Brenna Hagman, Olivia Betterman, Tristan Dehkes, Dominik Littell, 
 Justice Martin, Marshal Swenson, Thomas Kremer

2021 MGSHPA Annual Awards Banquet

President's Award
Jeff Washburn

Appreciation Award
Ray Pierce Sr. accepting for the Hibbing Horseshoe Club

2020 Rookie of the Year
Sara Nelson

Tournament Attendance
Patti Oakes & Joe Mueller

2021 Rookie of the Year
Colin Wanous

Scholarship Award
Lori York

Longevity Awards
Al Springer, Barry Schilling, Helen Hawkinson, Cheryl Beck

Longevity Awards
Patti Oakes, April Lynch, Jerry LaBrosse,Bob Knudtson, Mark Smith

Frank Stinson Top Ten Award 
Jim Aleckson

Junior Pitcher of the Year
Justice Martin

Top Ten POY Winners
Jim Aleckson
Brad Heth
Patti Oakes
Josh Olson
Ray Volkers
Joe Mueller
Jerry Hokkala
Lance Van Whye
Jerry Werk
Helen Hawkinson

Jeff having a little fun with Josh

President Rick Wright posed with the juniors as they were enjoying a pizza snack

Publishing Schedule for the MGSHPA Ringer Digest
State Tournament Issue

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MGSHPA Executive Board                      MGSHPA Directors

Rick Wright
50586 Shorewood Circle
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PO Box 353
Bertha, MN 56437

North Vice President
Rory Pierce
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Hibbing, MN  55746

South Vice President
Jeff Washburn
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Shoreview, MN  55126
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Ringer Digest Editor
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Greenfield,MN 55357

Josh Olson
PO Box 353
Bertha, MN 56437

PO Box 353
Bertha, MN 56437

Nominations Director 
Joe Mueller
2057 152nd Lane
Ham Lake, MN 55304

Constitution and Bylaws
Jeff Washburn
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Promotion/News Media Director
Michelle Foard
5228 Pierce St NE
Fridley, MN  55421

Junior Promotions Director
April Lynch
25679 Friesland Ct
Wyoming, MN 55902

Communications Director
Jerry LaBrosse
8170 Fern Lane
Greenfield, MN 55357

About Us
MGSHPA's Ringer Digest is the official newsletter of the Minnesota Gopher State Horseshoe Pitchers' Association. It is free to members of the MGSHPA and other interested parties. Changes of email address can be sent directly to the editor     Jlabro6186@aol.com

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