World Tournament 2018 Set to Begin
The 2018 NHPA World Horseshoe Pitching Championships will begin on July 9th and run through July 21st, 2018. The event will take place at the Florence Center in beautiful Florence, South Carolina. One thousand twenty-six (1026) competitors will embark on the Florence Center during this two-week event for a chance to win a world championship title. 47 states as well as Canada, South Africa, and Norway will be competing in this year's event.
In the Open Men's division, the current reigning and over twenty-time World Champion, Alan Francis from Defiance, Ohio, will be contending to win again. Alan has seemed to have cruise control set winning the world championship the last six years, having ninety straight wins. Brian Simmons from Vermont will have some discrepancy in Francis' game. Simmons' last world title was in 2011, will it be time to recover? Dan Watson, of Hazel Green, Alabama, has been a contender for quite some time now, never having won a world title. Watson gave Francis a good game in early May pressing Francis to a 106-shoe game but coming up with a loss in the end. Never count out Walter Ray Williams, Jr. from Florida. Canada's Drew Becker cannot be counted out either. Becker scored 37 points on Francis in 2016. Canada has not won since 1977, but will they reign supreme and take the title back north?
In Open Women's division, Joan Elmore is reigning world champion. Elmore has been "under the gun" early this year, but as Elmore does, she will kick it up come time for the title. Elmore has won nine world titles. Can Elmore win again to tie the all - time winning record holder Vicki Winston (retired) at ten? Back in action this year is Quebec Canada's Sylvianne Moisan. Moisan was a world champion before Elmore, winning early on. Moisan has four consecutive titles running 2000 to 2003. Titusville, Florida's, Shalee Cason throws in the court to take the crown. Cason was once a junior girls world champion, hoping to bring back her roots and pitch her way to a win. As always, the Mirror Tennessee Twins from Covington, TN, Marlene Ray and Maxine Griffith, try and grasp a world title. Marlene and Maxine have come 2nd and 3rd in past years. Will one of them get a victory in 2018? Do not count out third place finisher in 2017, Terry Beagle, of Clayton, Michigan. Beagle has one of the best follow throughs in the women's division, and will that hold out to take down everyone else?
The Elder Men's division is for men seventy plus years old, or men who have a medical exemption to throw a shorter distance. Current world champion Roger Vogel, of El Dorado, Kansas, has struggled to find his way back up early this year. Vogel is pre-occupied with his candidacy for NHPA President. David Holmes, of Charleston, West Virginia, will come back from a year break to take back his crown. Holmes won the world title three years, 2014-2016. He will look to take it back. Daniel Dunn from Kokomo, Indiana, is looking to take a world title. Dunn had
some bad pitches at last year's world tournament, knocking him to third place. Dunn's arched shoe tends to bounce off. Has he figured out his soft shoe method to stay on? Jim Ellison, of Orange Beach, Alabama, took second last year. Ellison won the Horseshoe Tour in late April in Newberry, of South Carolina. Russell Phillips, of Grandview, Washington and Virgil Rife, of Weston, Ohio, are hanging tight.
This year's Senior Men's class has some of the toughest competition to date, with current champion Bob Swain, of New Mexico, not competing, will Raymond Bedard, of Massachusetts, take back his title? Bedard has two titles so far, but will Gary Robert from Ohio be able to hold off injury and win his first? The people from New England states including Bill Navratil, Connecticut, Garry Currier, Maine, will have their eye on the prize as well. Southwest USA Jacob Fimbres, of Arizona and Ken Jones, of New Mexico have pitched big games in the past. Can they finally seal the deal? Utah's single flip, Roy Buhler, takes his time and gets a win? Will Buhler be finally able to pull off this big upset and take the crown? Ontario Canada's Tom Gallina has come in second a couple of times before. Gallina has been in playoffs for the world title but cannot seem to take it in the pit since 2001. Will this year may be different for Gallina? Will Gallina travel back across the border and take the world title with him? The senior men's class is shaping up to be a great one and with the competition kicking up, it may be time for a change.
Senior Women are never to be counted out. Sheila Shepard from Colorado has won six world titles, which include the last two in a row. Shepard pitches consistent 70s and has been able to fend off pitchers coming her way for quite some time except, Ruth Rife from Ohio. Rife has won two titles during Shepard's six. Rife has been out for some time but is looking good coming back this year in the world class. Horseshoe Tour's first lady Mrs. Barbara "Maw maw" Taylor, a home state hero, from South Carolina, is coming to this division. Her first year in, she goes in as rank #2. Taylor leads the Horseshoe Tour and is in the Horseshoe Tour Hall of Fame. Will her tour events bring her the same luck and fortune? A newcomer to Senior Women's is Indiana's Julia Charlton. Charlton is now retired and looking to pick up her game and take the world class. Linda Aurell, Connecticut's main woman, is also looking on to finally capture a victory. Look for many upsets in this division as there are a lot of newcomers.
The Junior's category is never to be out done. Seth O'Nan, reigning junior boy's world champion is having some great tournaments early on this year including posting a high game of 95%. O'Nan is from Henry County, Kentucky. O'Nan is perfecting his pitch and looks to be in tip top shape for another world title? Kentucky has dominated junior boy's the last three years; can they hold off for a fourth in a row with three of the A Class competitors from Kentucky? Virginia's Dayton Campbell will step up to the line this year and see if he can take the title. Campbell had luck last year winning the prelims but came up short in championships to O'Nan. Will they fight to the finish again this year? Derek Reynolds from Arkansas comes to the junior's division this year as a first timer. Reynolds seems to get jitters but always seems to come back and win those close-knit games when he needs them.
Cameran Edwards comes from Pennsylvania. She is current junior girl's world champion. Edwards seemed to sweep up competition last year. She beat out the one and only, her sister, Catrina. The Edwards girls might have a little trouble this year. Another Kentucky native comes in the girl's division this year as a first timer. Abby Rose is ranked #2 in junior girl's division. Rose has not played much this year, but will she be able to settle down and take the crown?
In junior cadets, Walker Forrester is from Watts, Oklahoma. This "little-big man" has that drive to pitch better and better. He won the world last year. Forrester is averaging over 80% coming into the tournament, however Hastiin Begaye from California, is pitching on and carrying on. Begaye is racking up wins in California. Will it be enough to travel clear across the USA and win a world title? Connecticut has great cadet pitchers Skyla Rioux, taking third last year and newcomer again, Riley Malino. The cadets might be small, but they can sure pitch ringers.
The NHPA World Horseshoe Pitching Championships will be indoors. The admission each day is FREE. Preliminary class play will begin on the 9th and run through the 25th. The adult's championships will be the 19th, 20th, and 21st. The junior's and cadet's championships will be on July 14th. Competition begins promptly at 8am each day and will end around 10:30pm through the 18th. Championships will be beginning at 9am and run through approximately 5pm on the 19th, 20th and 21st. Come one come all.
"Our shoes fit everyone"
On June 11, 2018, Sandy & I became grandparents (for a second time) to Finley Lynn Sipma. She weighed in at 7 pounds 14 ounces. Everyone is doing fine. This is my oldest son Justin and his wife Sierra's 2nd child. I couldn't be more thrilled to have my first girl in the Sipma family and also another NHPA sanctioned member on our State listing.
I want to take a moment and wish everyone a happy summer. Horseshoe season has started throughout the country and I want to thank everyone for their efforts in recruiting new members. Based on our preliminary numbers, it appears are numbers are down a little from last year.
The 7th Annual HOF Invitational was hosted by the QRHC this past May at the Hall of Fame building located at Wentzville, MO. In talking to the QRHC, it sounds like it was a very successful tournament. I want to apologize to the participants and the QRHC for not being able to attend. The NHPA would like to thank all the sponsors who sponsored this event and look forward to another successful tournament next year.
Charter Presidents who are appointing their delegates for the 2018 delegate meeting at Florence, SC. Please take some time to go through their packets and educate them on what they need to be doing to support their Charter.
This year we have the positions of President, and 5th VP up for election. Candidates running for President include myself (Incumbent), and Roger Vogel. For the position of 5th VP, Coyce Allen (Incumbent) and Dalton Rakestraw will be running.
The 2018 World Horseshoe Tournament will be held July 9th - 21st, 2018 at Florence, SC. There will be one thousand twenty-six (1026) competitors competing for cash and prices worth over one hundred and forty thousand dollars. This year we have competitors from Canada, South Africa, and Norway. The host site will be the Florence Center. The award-winning Florence Center is the largest convention, meeting and exhibition facility in northeast South Caroline and has 75,000 sq. ft. of flexible space. The SMG managed venue sits in the heart of the hospitality district at the intersection of I-95 and I-20 and is centrally located as the midway marker between NY to Miami. For more information, visit our website at www.horseshoepitching.com.
The NHPA Council is looking forward to visiting with everyone, especially all the new members and 1st time W.T. attendees. Don't forget to come out and watch the Junior and Cade Divisions, they bring a lot of excitement and energy to the game.
For the members who will not be attending the W.T. feel free to contact me anytime to on how we can make this a better sport for everyone to enjoy.
Security Guidelines for the 2018 World Tournament
I would like to update and pass along some very important security and safety information to all of you for the 2018 World Tournament in Florence, SC. The information is from the Florence Center Security Team. We understand that this is of concern and so the security team has provided the following list for you so that you are prepared upon arrival to the arena.
The Florence Center will be implementing safety and security guidelines as follows:
These are items that will NOT be allowed on site under no circumstances:
- No Concealed weapons (Guns, Hunting Knives, etc.)
- No Glass
- No Fireworks
- No Illegal substances of any kind
- No Large oversized bags (Duffle bag style)
- No outside food, or beverages to feed groups of people. Concessions are on site in several locations throughout the arena.
Your normal horseshoe equipment "Will be allowed" to go through the security at the arena. This includes your horseshoes, measuring tools, files, towels, pick up sticks, etc.
World Warm Up Tournament 2018
Rob Hagman, Tournament Director
Join us Saturday, July 7 in Florence to hit the courts and warm up your arms in your journey to a championship. All sign ups will be on site starting at 8 a.m. There will be a maximum of 96 entries. The tournament will begin at 10 a.m.
Warm Up Tournament entry fee is $25, 100% payback minus scorekeeper fees. No handicap will be used. Tournament will be formatted with six-person classes and forty-shoe games. We are using the format to simulate a day pitching at the World Tournament.
Current NatStats will be used for seeding. Scorekeepers will be paid $10 for the shift.
Juniors: Fun in the Sun in Florence
Aleena Lepak, Juniors Director
Ideas and planning have been in the works for over a year, and we can finally reveal what the Florence Convention and Visitors Bureau has to offer for the Juniors, Cadets, and their families. Less than a month ago a brand-new waterpark opened not far from Florence in Hartsville, SC. Neptune Island includes the Endless Abyss, a quarter-mile long lazy river, the Castaway Bay wave pool, two Twin Sirens tube slides, the Neptune's Revenge speed body slide and three Trident Racers mat racing slides. On Wednesday July 11th Junior and Cadet pitchers can enjoy this waterpark for free all day! The convention center will be running a shuttle to the waterpark at 10am, noon, and 2pm. Shuttle will pick up and drop off at the Florence Convention and Visitors Bureau Office located on the back side of the Florence Center. The last return shuttle from the park back to Florence will leave at 5pm and will arrive back at 5:45 P.M. Lunch will be provided, but extra spending money is suggested as there are additional treats available. Please also bring a change of clothes for the shuttle ride back to Florence.
Parents and/or guardians will need to fill out a waiver before boarding the shuttle for injury and liability purposes. I unfortunately will not be able to attend this awesome party with you all. Due to my work schedule I will be arriving in Florence on Thursday. I am looking for 6 chaperones who would be willing to help for this party for either part of, or the full day. Please contact me if you are interested so I can confirm and pass your name along to the proper contacts.
The Convention Center will also be hosting a party for juniors and cadets during the NHPA banquet. The party will be at the Convention Center in a designated room. There will be video games, board games, activities and music available. Deb Scully from Hartford, Connecticut has been gracious enough to bring along her DJ/karaoke equipment for us. Food will be provided as well for this party. I have also been informed that we will have this room available throughout the tournament. If anyone would like to bring games or activities to play or share in the junior room, they are more than welcome.
Throughout our 2-week long tournament, Florence will have many family activities for ALL pitchers. You can find more about these special offers and events by going to the following web site: https://www.worldhorseshoes.com/offers
I look forward to seeing you all there and to see some amazing games and champions!!!!
WT Photos Have Gone Digital
World Tournament photos have gone digital! You can pre-order a high quality digital download photo package of your class, individual action and awards photos of this year's world tournament.
Photo package pricing is just $15 when you pre-order before July 9. After the tournament begins, packages will be $20.
Through a partnership with a Snapshot Sports Media, a dedicated photographer will follow each group and athlete for the duration of the competition and images will be available for personal download. A link will be sent containing all pertinent information upon registration and again once the photos are available.
Regional Director of the Year
Dave Shreve has been pitching since 1977 at the Moose Lodge and joined the NHPA in 1981. From there he joined the tavern league and eventually became the secretary. During his tenure as secretary, he convinced the league to become sanctioned and in 1986 & 1987 the Thursday Night Traveling League became the largest sanctioned league in the country.
Dave served as President of the ILSHPA from 1987 to 1991. In 1995 he became the Regional Director of the NHPA and has held that position to date. In this position he oversees all the sites in the state that host sanctioned tournaments, as well as being a source of information to everyone.
He is currently the President of the Millstadt Horseshoe Club, and still Secretary of the Thursday Night traveling league. He was the tournament Director at the Cahokia Homecoming starting in 1983 as well as the director of the Memorial Day tournament at Cahokia Park for over 20 years. Dave was instrumental in the successful bid of hosting the State Tournament in 1987 and 1997. In 1987 the first indoor State tournament was held at the Cahokia hockey rink using portable courts. Due to the many entries, the outside courts were also used that year.
Dave has attended over 16 World Tournaments as well as every State Tournament since 1983.
In 1998, Dave was the first to be awarded the Jim Korte award by the ILSHPA, along with the Henry Franke Award in 2006. He was inducted into the Illinois Hall Of Fame in 2008 and named Player of the Year 2012, 2013 and 2014 by the ILSHPA.
Dave has always been a great source of knowledge to everyone, a strong supporter of the NHPA, and continues to be a recruiter for the leagues. He has great character and is a friend to everyone.
Future of Horseshoe Pitching
Gary B. Roberts
Once again the World Horseshoe Tournament is a bright spot for the sport of horseshoe pitching. The over one thousand entries will participate in a great event. However, it is more difficult to find those bright spots outside of the World Tournament. Many local tournament directors struggle to get entries for their tournaments. Some tournaments have actually been canceled because of low entries. NHPA membership continues to decline each year.
This decline is particularly difficult for me. I was fortunate to have experienced the years when there were over 3,000 people watching the Championship Division each night. Many say horseshoe pitching is not a spectator sport and that games are too long. It was a spectator sport then and games sometimes lasted more than 150 shoes. It is my opinion that the decline in horseshoe pitching is a result of societal changes. The number of activities available to children today far exceeds the number that was available in my childhood. Baseball, softball, soccer, basketball and other sports are now almost year round activities. There are traveling teams and all-star teams along with special camps. Parents scramble to take their children to a myriad of activities.
Many blame the NHPA Officers for the decline in our sport. I cannot agree with this opinion. I have only been an Officer for a short time but my observation is that we have a group of very hard working people that genuinely care about the future of our sport. I am often discouraged by the very negative criticism directed at the Officers by some very vocal members. I would suggest that it would be more productive to work with the Officers in a positive way or to step into a leadership position.
One thing we can all agree on is that change and innovation will be necessary if our sport is to survive. Many ideas have been brought forward and we must implement those that are promising. Each of the NHPA Charters will be selecting delegates to represent you at the Convention. You should let your Charter President be aware of the issues that are important to you. It is the delegates, not the NHPA Officers, who make the decisions on rules and bylaws.
Another area that we need to develop is sponsorship. We have failed in this regard. However, Laurie Lampkin and the Sponsorship Committee are working very hard to get sponsors. This will not be an easy task in light of our low membership and our lack of expertise in this area. It has been proven that larger payouts increase participation.
I look forward to seeing everyone at the World Tournament in Florence. I also look forward with helping to create a brighter future for horseshoe pitching.