Ringer Digest

April - May - June 2022

A Charter of the NHPA

Official Publication of the Minnesota Gopher State Horseshoe Pitchers' Association


Tournament will be held in Beloit Wisconsin MAY 13-15, 2022.

Team #1

Jerry Hokkala, Ray Volkers, Helen Hawkinson and Mark Smith

Team #2

Josh Olson, Pat Stumpf, Jeff Washburn and Janet Larson

Team #3

Eric Dehkes, Nathan Dehkes, Melissa Dehkes, and Brad Heth.

Michelle Foard-captain

Team #4

Andy Olson, Tom Prokop, Patti Oakes, Joe Mueller

Thoughts from the Editor:

By Jerry LaBrosse

As I prepare this spring edition of the Ringer Digest, I try to think of everything you should know about that's happening in your state organization, so here goes:

I want to encourage you to consider participating in the 2022 NHPA World Tournament in Monroe LA July 11th - 23rd. If you have played in a World Tournament then you know what a great experience it can be. If you have not played in one yet, I urge you to give it a try.

Visit the NHPA website for all the details https://www.horseshoepitching.com/

The State officers and Directors held a few meetings over the winter, most recently a trial zoom meeting. The state team has a new leader, Ray Pierce Jr, and he has a good team of dedicated people to work with. Ray instructed Sue Pierce, Constitution and Bylaw Director, to assemble a committee and do a review of our CBL document and make sure all long overdue updates are made. South VP Jeff Washburn and Editor Jerry LaBrosse will be committee members along with Sue and Ray. Once the project is complete, the changes will be published in the July Digest for voting on at the Annual State Meeting on Labor Day weekend.

Our new webmaster Lori York is busy making several wonderful changes to our state website. She is currently working on a page that will make signing up for state tournament a snap. I urge you to spend a few minutes exploring our state website to see how nice it is laid out. Thank you for a job well done Lori !

Our Regional Director Josh Olson is a candidate for the position of NHPA 1st Vice President. Josh is currently the NHPA IT Director, and is a huge asset for setting up and running the IT system at the world tournament.

Josh has a passion for horseshoes, both on and off the courts. The NHPA will be very lucky to have Josh as an NHPA Officer ! Good Luck Josh !!!

Next issue will be the July/August/September issue. Of course we will also be providing a special State Tournament issue with lots of photos and results.

Since it's sign up time, I thought this notice from the last issue needed to stay for this issue.

Membership Renewal Made Simple With Eshoe

In all the years I've been involved with this sport, I have never seen innovation like we've seen recently in the NHPA. I just renewed my membership on Eshoe and it took me about 30 seconds with PayPal. Let's all get our memberships updated early and I suggest you do it online.

Here's the direct link ------->>>>>>>> Eshoe

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President’s Message

By Ray Pierce Jr

Well spring has officially sprung although up here in northern Minnesota it’s called the third winter. The waning days of March left some much to be desired weather following the Scottish folktale that March borrowed three days from April to extend his power. I personally prefer the Spanish version where a shepherd promised March a lamb to temper his winds to suit his flock. Either way, March usually marks the end of winter. April comes in and cleans up and starts thawing the ground making way for our second longest season…ROAD CONSTRUCTION!! All of it signals the start to another horseshoe season, which is the most exciting part.  

As I transition from winter and wrestling season, I have had a couple of meetings with our officers. Our team is getting me up to speed and showing me the ropes. I expect we will have a few things to address at the spring members meeting which will be held June 18th at the Bertha Open in Bertha. We are working on adding Zoom or some other live streaming application so you can join our meetings whether or not you can attend personally. Technology has its perks sometimes.  

Just a reminder, please reach out to our officers if you have issues as most of us get our clubs and seasons into full swing. Our south V.P. is Jeff Washburn and the North V.P. is Rory Pierce. You’ll find both of their contact information on the MGSHPA website www.minnesotahorseshoes.com. There are many things we can assist with. My contact info is also available on the site as well.  

Looking ahead, the state tournament is back in Genola this year and will be there for the foreseeable future as President Rick Wright did a good job negotiating a contract. It is a nice central location and facility. We are still looking for a host club for the 2022 tournament. Host clubs are responsible for pit maintenance and care, scorers, judges and cleanup. A host club can run concessions and split the pots to earn money for their club. If you are interested contact your VP and get details.  

Good Luck this year, be safe and enjoy the season.  

Remembering June Nick

June Marie (Weibel) Nick, age 91, of Winsted, Minnesota passed away on Sunday, February 13, 2022 at her residence. 

June and George Nick are pioneers of the Minnesota State Horseshoe world. They saw it all from nearly the beginning.

June had many friends in the horseshoe world both locally and nationally, and she will be missed.

Blessings and condolences from members of the MGSHPA.


Regional Director / Stats Guy

By Josh Olson

I am excited to announce the 

Josh Olson Classic 2022 

to be held August 20th and 21st in Genola MN.

In my opinion this will be a CANT MISS tournament for 2022. We are already getting entries and the lineups for the 40ft and 30ft Championship groups are starting to stack up as well. It could very well be the Tournament of the year if you ask me. If you are interested check out the flyer and if you are looking for any additional information please visit our MGSHPA website!

Format for Josh Olson Classic 2022

9am shift Saturday is open to 32 pitchers.

Planned format for 9am shift is 8 player classes, 40 shoe games, no handicap.

*Guaranteed payout for 8 person class*

1st- $160


3rd- $60

1pm Saturday and then 9am Sunday: 40ft and 30ft Championship Classes will play Saturday evening and Sunday morning. The plan is for a 16-person 40ft Class and 16-person 30ft Class. Top prize for both championship classes will be $350+, my goal is to get more added Sponsor $$ to make the Championship Classes top prizes $500 for both classes. Only other event you can make that kind of money is during the World Tournament!

We will be using electronic scoring. There will be concessions on site and 50/50 drawings both days as well.

**This tournament for some pitchers will be a 2-day Tournament, if your Ringer% makes the top 16 pitchers for the 40ft group or 30ft Group you will be asked to play on Saturday and Sunday, and it will be an additional $20 for the Entry fee (only for the Championship Classes). These classes will play 40-point games, so there will be 8 games on Saturday starting at 1pm and the final 7 games on Sunday starting at 9am. If you do not make the top 16 for the 40ft or 30ft groups, then you will get put into the Tournament like any other tournament and compete in mixed class play that will pitch Saturday at 9am. **


On the Court with Josh

You ready for Spring? I know I am! League Meetings will soon be forming for the upcoming Spring/Summer horseshoe Season, and I cannot wait for the warmer weather so we can start pitching outside again, it has been a very long winter.

By the time everyone is reading this it will be the beginning of April and it won’t be long until we get to start getting the courts ready and start pitching and getting ready for the big tournaments that are coming up this year. Don’t forget to sign up for any upcoming tournaments or leagues you might want to attend they may fill up fast so sign up early. 

We have the World Tournament happening again in Monroe Louisiana. The Dates are July 11th – 23rd. The Deadline is May 17th, make sure you have 4 events to qualify you can find the World Tournament Entry Form online on the NHPA website. Good Luck to everyone that will be there, I will see you down in Da Boot!

Team World 2022 Update, Minnesota again will be sponsoring 2 Teams for the Tournament that will be held in Beloit Wisconsin May13-15. Keep an eye on the next Digest to see how the Minnesota Teams faired with all the Top teams in the Midwest! Good Luck to all who are pitching!

**Reminder to Tournament Directors, please remember to send me and information you want added to your Tournament Reminders for this upcoming Season, that way I can get it updated on eShoe for everyone to see. 

That is all I have for now, see you on the Courts!

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South Vice President

by Jeff Washburn

Hello to all of our fellow MGSHPA pitchers, families, and friends. As I write this, the first day of Spring is now behind us so that means horseshoe pitching will not be too far away. Personally, I am happy to see folks out and about, enjoying each other’s’ company, and able to spend time with family and friends much more than we all could over the past 2 years. It is real promising to see our lives returning to just about normal as the pandemic continues to get further in our rear-view mirrors.  

I have talked to several league directors recently so thanks to each of you for your updates. Some of the clubs have already had their first spring meeting and other clubs have registrations meetings scheduled as well. MGSHPA has a full complement of horseshoe tournaments again this year, so I would encourage all of you to plan your pitching schedules to include some of the many fine tournament opportunities.   Please help out your MGSHPA by renewing your dues as this is the primary source of income for our organization.  Eshoe is available and an easy way to take care of this. Just access the MGSHPA website and click on Membership sign up and follow the prompts. You can also print a copy and mail your check to Ann Hagman.

Our State Tournament is moving back to Genola this year. The MGSHPA has signed a mulit-year agreement to have this facility available for future state tournaments as well as other tournaments such as the Josh Olson Classic in August. Another friendly reminder for all of our members is to keep your ambassador hats on and encourage new prospective pitchers to join our great association perhaps by signing up with a local club.  I look forward to seeing many of you on the courts this summer.

Upsala Winter League Wrap-up for 2022

by Janet Larson

The Upsala Horseshoe courts is still one of the best winter pitching facilities in the state of MN and their winter league drew thirteen pitchers from a 90 mile radius of west central Minnesota to compete on Monday afternoons from January 10th through March 14th. The league uses a handicapped singles format, 40 shoe count all games, with four games being played on each Monday. We only had to cancel once due to weather. There is also a percentage of win/losses figured in, to even things out for those who cannot make it there every week. Six of the thirteen pitchers were able to achieve perfect attendance. With eight built in blue clay courts, there is still room for five more pitchers, so keep this in mind for next year.  

Top finishers for regular season play were:

1st - Pat Stumpf 72.22% wins, pitching 49.91% (winning 11 of her last 12 games) 

2nd - Myron VanderWeyst 70.97% wins, pitching 46.85%

3rd - Don Waldoch 63.33% wins, pitching 32%

4th - Jerry Werk 56.45% wins, pitching 29.92%

5th - Walt Beneke 56.25% wins, pitching 23.75%

6th - Chuck Betterman 53.85% wins, pitching 18.46%

High Point games were achieved by:

Pat 114 points (61.25% ringers)

Jerry Zyvoloski 110 points

Myron 101 points

High 4 game series: Pat 391 points, Myron 372 points, Walt 360 points

High game over average by ringer % was Jerry Z. who pitched a 61.25% game over his average of 33.3%, he had 16 consecutive ringers that game.  

Rookie of the year went to Tony Omann.  

The season wrapped up with a two class tournament on March 14th. Class A ended in a three-way tie between Janet Larson, Jerry Werk and Jerry Zyvoloski, each having 4 wins and 1 loss. The tie was broken by total points, which went to Janet. Class B ended in a two-way tie between Walt Beneke and Chuck Betterman with Chuck having earned the higher points.  

There was then a playoff game between Janet and Chuck, which Janet won in the final shoes, to be declared the Tournament Champion.  

A huge thank you to Myron VanderWeyst for being in charge of the league and his wife Linda, who helped keep him organized. There is some discussion about bringing back the Upsala Spring tournament next year, so keep this in mind and watch for updates.  

Alexandria Horseshoe 2022 spring update

By Janet Larson

We finished last season mid-September with the team of Al Nicholson and Tina Matter winning both the regular season and the playoff season. Each year we reorganize our teams using a high/low format based on last year's handicaps, including new members where they best fit.  We will have to see if Al and Tina will still be the team to beat this year or not. The winners of last year's league singles tournament were Tina Matter 1st and Chuck Betterman 2nd in Class B, with Jerry Werk 1st and Gene Eitreim 2nd in Class A.

Our club ran the Alex Open with a full 32 tournament roster last year and we hope to have a full roster again this year. This year's tournament will be on Saturday, May 28th. Please sign up early so you don’t risk missing out. It is a guaranteed tournament as it will be held in Bertha in case of inclement weather,  

Many of our members participated in the Upsala winter league. We also are strong supporters of the Donnelly tournament and support several local non-sanctioned clubs as well including Alexandria Eagles, Underwood Rocking K Ranch and the Ashby Club. Horseshoes are alive and well out here in West Central MN.  

The Alexandria League will hold their annual spring organizational meeting on Wednesday April 20th at 6:00pm in the Douglas County Library conference room, at 720 Fillmore St, Alexandria MN. Come join the fun!  


Season Champs

Front: Jerry Werk and Tina Matter

Back: Bruce Swenson and Al Nicholson


Playoff Champs

Tina Matter and Al Nicholson


Singles Winners

Class A

Gene Eitreim, Jerry Werk

Class B Tina Matters

Promotion / News Media

by Michelle Foard

 Happy Spring Everyone! League will be having their spring meetings soon. Brooklyn Park is having theirs on April 12th at 6:30 pm. We pitch Mon and Tues nights. Our league format is changing from teams to singles so no subs are needed. We hope to get more people to come play. Our summer tournament will be Sunday June 12th. 

   Just a suggestion for all club presidents at your spring meeting to talk about the tournaments going on this summer as well as State. Make sure your members know where to find this information. Also I would love club photos again this summer. If you play 2 different days, take a picture of each day and email them to me. 

   In non-sanctioned news Ham Lake Lanes will be having their spring tournament on April 30th. This is a bring your own partner tournament. Sign up by 10am and start at 11am. This is a round robin style tournament. Also the State is allowing the publication of non-sanctioned tournaments so you will be able to get info via our website and not just on FB.

   In the land of Tik Tok I have been going live at tournaments as well as league. I have gained 37 new followers which puts me at 8,921 current followers. There were about 17k viewers for 10 hours and 45 mins of live time. My most viewed video was from Dec which now has 559.8k views total. Over half a million. I plan on going to Team World in May and will go live on Tik Tok. If you wanna watch it is pretty easy to set up an account. You don't need to make your own videos, you can just sign up and follow Mnhorseshoeclub. I am hoping to catch the younger viewers attention and get more to join us.

  As always if you have any photos from league or tournaments you wanna share email them to me and I can post on FB. Let's have a great year! 



Ray Sue.jpeg

Sue and Ray Pierce Win in Arizona

Ray & I participated in the horseshoe contest on March 19, 2022 here in Quartzsite Arizona. It was held along with Buck Connors Western Days Festival. Team event. We won our first game, lost the second, then won next 3 games to win 1st Place. In championship game we had to win twice. Only 7 teams were entered.

Junior Promotions

By April Lynch

Happy Spring! Just a little update on some happenings going on this summer for Junior Horseshoe pitchers & their families. This summer we are again partnering with The Forest Lake Community Education program to offer a great opportunity for kids along with an adult to learn and play horseshoes. I along with Helen Hawkinson and Michelle Foard will be teaching this class at the Forest Lake VFW courts in Forest Lake. It will be on Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. beginning May 31st and ending July 12th. If anyone is interested or know anyone that may be interested, please contact me Helen or Michelle and we will guide you on how to sign up. I have attached the information below. This is a great activity that you could promote within your community while partnering with your local Community Education Program. See you on the courts!

April Lynch.jpg

Ray Volkers Wins NHPF Event

By Jerry LaBrosse

    The annual NHPF benefit tournament was held on a beautiful sunny crisp winter day at the Greenfield Academy of Sports Excellence.

    The day started off with Class C pitching 40 shoe games without handicap. Marlys Timm was undefeated throwing 32.5%. Rick Wright took second place honors and Colin Wanous placed third.

     Class B had a late roster change. Michelle Foard replaced Lori York as the first seed. Lori was feeling ill and we wished her a speedy recovery.

 After five games we had a four-way tie for first place. The announced tiebreakers were head to head and then high over average. Michelle Foard  went to the second tiebreaker to end up with the patch. She shot 41.5% just a whisker under her entry average . Tom Strandquist placed second and Patti Oakes placed third. It was an extremely competitive class with lots of close games.

    Class A took to the courts and played 50 point games straight up.

 Ray Volkers shot a 60.96% and went undefeated to claim the tournament title. Jerry Hokkala placed second with 59.28% performance. There was a three-way tie for third place and Josh Olson took the prize in the head to head tiebreaker. Lots of good comeback games going over 80 shoes.

Josh set up live streaming to Facebook and had it going most of the day. During the Class A shift Michelle Foard set up a camera in the opposite corner of the arena and live streamed to TikTok. She had over 21,000 viewers and picked up seven new followers so she was quite pleased with that. She narrated a few games at the end of the tournament. The scorekeepers were paid with a $2 bill for each game to continue a tradition and memory started by my close friend Bill Marvin during the 2009 World Tournament in Springfield Illinois. All in all it was a very fun day with lots of laughs and snacks and fellowship. A $90 check was mailed to the NHPF in the name of the MGSHPA.

Class A

Joe Mueller, Jerry Hokkala, Ray Volkers, Josh Olson, Mark Smith, Brad Heth

Class B

Tom Prokop, Jerry Werk, Patti Oakes, Michelle Foard, Tom Strandquist, Brian Wipper

Class C

Mike Demars, Lowell Johnson, Colin Wanous, Marlys Timm, Rick Wright, Paul Olson


Click on any of the links below

Tournament Schedule

Tournament Results

Past Digests







Ray Pierce Jr


Ringer Digest Editor

Jerry LaBrosse



Ann Hagman



Josh Olson


NHPA Regional Director

Josh Olson



Lori York


North VicePresident

Rory Pierce


Nominations Director

Joe Mueller


South Vice President

Jeff Washburn


Constitution & ByLaws Director

Sue Pierce


Promotion/News Media Director

Michelle Foard


Junior Promotions Director

April Lynch


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