Council Roles & Responsibilities

The NHPA Council held their annual winter meeting Jan. 25th and 26th at the Hampton Inn and Suites in Wichita Falls, TX. All officers were present. Our newest members to the Council include Jim Kinney Jr. who took over for David Sidles as our Sec/Treas, and Dalton Rakestraw who took over for Coyce Allen as our 5th VP in charge of Regional Directors and W.T. set up.

This year's winter meeting included two full days of meeting topics. Some of the main topics on the agenda included; finalizing our 2019 Goals, reviewing the 2018 Financial Report, establishing our 2019 Budget, Review Proposed Rule Changes, Review the 2019 W.T. Each Officer gave a presentation on duties assigned to them. All the Officers gave a great presentation of their topics. For your information, the meeting was recorded and once Jim completes the minutes of the meeting, they will be published. Laura Lampkin (2nd VP) will be leading committees involving Membership Growth and Sponsorship. If you would like to be part of one of these committees, please contact Laura.

The Council outlined the 2019 goals, and some have changed slightly. All of these goals are very important to the Executive Council and hope they are just as important to all of you.
  • Increase Membership
  • Control Spending
  • National and Local promotion of the sport
  • Support for the Hall of Fame
  • Secure a National Sponsor
  • Open communications with each Charter
  • Continue to integrate technology
Jim Kinney (with the help of David Sidles) prepared a report to the Council that the adult membership count has declined slightly. Adult members dropped from 9594 in 2017 to 8940 (8298 adults and 642 juniors).

Jim Kinney Jr. reported to the Council our current financials for 2018. The Council went through the financials with a fine-tooth comb. The Council did finalize the 2019 budget at the end of the 2nd day.

With the addition of two new Officers on the Council, we spent some time going through the duties of each Vice President. The duties are outlined below. The President and Sec/Treas duties are outlined in the By-laws booklet.
Gary Roberts (1st VP)
     Back-up for the President and their duties.
    Assist the President, when requested, and perform any duties their offices may imply.
    Direct specific NHPA functions assigned to them by the President. These functions shall include (but are not limited to): By-Laws, Rules, Regional Directors, Sanctioned Leagues, Publicity, Promotions, and Website Management.
    Director of the Rules and By-Laws. Includes forming committees to handle the review and initial approval of the Rules and By-Laws, then forwarded onto the NHPA Council for review/approval for the delegate meeting.
    In charge of keeping current the Medical Exemption form and any revisions approved by the Council.
    Required to travel and approve W.T. bidding sites.
    Controls the training/certifying of the NHPA judges. Maintains an active list of all the judges trained.
    Attend the World Tournament for two weeks and serve as a Shift Director.
    Write Newsline article by-monthly and submit to the NHPA Newsline Director.
    Backup for the HOF Director.
    Responsible for the international affairs
    Lead in reviewing and answering questions on the NHPA forum (Rules and By-laws).
    Member of the HOF Committee.
    Attend the annual NHPA winter meeting.
Laura Lampkin (2nd VP)
     Back-up for the 5th VP and their duties.
    Assist the President, when requested, and perform any duties their offices may imply.
    Direct specific NHPA functions assigned to them by the President. These functions shall include (but are not limited to): By-Laws, Rules, Regional Directors, Sanctioned Leagues, Publicity, Promotions, and Website Management.
    World Tournament Coordinator in charge of attending Sports Marketing conferences and getting cites to bid for the World Tournament. Duties include site visits, communicating the arrangement at the W.T. site, and handling the bidding process at the delegate meeting.
    In charge of keeping current the W.T. contract and RFP documents.
    Continue leading of the Sponsorship committee and tracking all the letters issued to potential sponsors and reporting back to the NHPA Council.
    Continue leading the Membership Growth committee and reporting back to the NHPA Council.
    In charge of the publication and distribution of the Shoe News for the World Tournament.
    Attend the World Tournament for two weeks and serve as a Shift Director.
    Lead in reviewing and answering questions on the NHPA Forum (Publicity and Promotions).
    Attend the NHPA Council winter meeting.
    Write Newsline articles by-monthly and submit to the NHPA Newsline Director.
    Revise and keep current the rack cards.
    Require to travel and approve W.T. bidding sites.
    Writing and distributing the W.T. press release.
Jerry Smith (3rd VP)
     Back-up for the Secretary-Treasurer and their duties.
    Assist the President, when requested, and perform any duties their offices may imply.
    Direct specific NHPA functions assigned to them by the President. These functions shall include (but are not limited to): By-Laws, Rules, Regional Directors, Sanctioned Leagues, Publicity, Promotions, and Website Management.
    Attend the World Tournament for two weeks and serve as a Shift Director.
    Lead in reviewing and answering questions on the NHPA Forum (Sanction Leagues).
    Attend the NHPA Council winter meeting.
    Required to travel and approve W.T. bidding sites.
    NHPA Historian- Writes HOF nominations, maintains the memorabilia at the NHPA HOF Museum.
    Sanction League Director.
    Membership Reports.
    Final Stat Reports.
    Keep a record of all the pitchers' high game.
    Send patches to the club league directors.
    Keep records of the Top Ten List.
    Junior Scholarships tracking and awards for Council approval.
    Keep records for clubs' continuous years for a sanction club or league.
    Pick a League Director of the year award.
    In charge of revising and keeping the Sanction League ("RED") Booklet current.
    Write Newsline article by-monthly and submit to the NHPA Newsline Director.
    TD for the HOF Sanction League Tournament.
Rob Hagman (4th VP)
     Back-up/provide assistance for the NHPA Natstats Director.
    Assist the President, when requested, and perform any duties their offices may imply.
    Direct specific NHPA functions assigned to them by the President. These functions shall include (but are not limited to): By-Laws, Rules, Regional Directors, Sanctioned Leagues, Publicity, Promotions, and Website Management.
    Attend the World Tournament for two weeks and serve as a W.T. Stat Room Director.
    Lead in reviewing and answering questions on the NHPA Forum (IT).
    Attend the NHPA Council winter meeting.
    Required to travel and approve W.T. bidding sites.
    Website Director the NHPA website.
    Lead in maintaining the NHPA website.
    Lead in the setup and teardown of the W.T. computers and cameras.
    Lead in handling all the I.T. issues pertaining to the score-keeping and servers at the W.T.
    Coordinate the camera webpage for the NHPA website.
    Responsible for the storage and shipping of the W.T. computers and equipment.
    Assist in the W.T. warm up tournament making sure all the I.T. equipment is working properly.
    Assist Charters in answering questions pertaining to the HS Master software.
    Lead in working with Kurt Whaley making sure revisions are made to the HS Master software.
    Lead in the rewrite of the HS Master Software to include cost, schedule for execution and report back to Council for approval.
    Set up training and train score keepers for the W.T.
    Write Newsline article by-monthly and submit to the NHPA Newsline Director.
Dalton Rakestraw (5th VP)
     Back-up for the 3rd VP and their duties.
    Assist the President, when requested, and perform any duties their offices may imply.
    Direct specific NHPA functions assigned to them by the President. These functions shall include (but are not limited to): By-Laws, Rules, Regional Directors, Sanctioned Leagues, Publicity, Promotions, and Website Management.
    Attend the World Tournament for two weeks and serve as a W.T. Shift Director.
    Lead in reviewing and answering questions on the NHPA Forum (Regional Director).
    Attend the NHPA Council winter meeting.
    Required to travel and approve W.T. bidding sites.
    NHPA Regional Charter Director duties include;
    Maintain a complete list of the Charter Regional Directors.
    Update the RD guideline brochure.
    Court Sanctioning.
    Oversee the patch orders for the Charters.
    Pick a Regional Director of the year award.
Regarding the 2019 World Tournament, the entry form is on the web site for you to print out. The schedule will be finalized around May. The W.T. entry fee will remain the same as last year, adult's entry fee is $130 and juniors $25.

Positions up for election this year are the 1st VP and 3rd VP. Both Gary Roberts and Jerry Smith have submitted are intentions for running for these positions. Candidates wanting to run for these positions have till April 1st to get their announcement to me and our Newsline Editor Rebecca Sidles.

Per the By-Laws (ARTICLE V Section 7) Candidates for NHPA Office must announce their candidacy in writing, to be received by the President and the Horseshoe Pitching Newsline Editor no later than April 1st, 2018.

In conclusion, I challenge each one of you to inspire your clubs within your Charters to sign up members and not only adult members but juniors too! If each Charter would take this initiative to do this each year, can you imagine how membership are would grow? Remember we have added two categories for signing up "new" members outside of our standard membership. They consist of Provisional and Trial. This is an incentive for attracting and signing up new players. Come on everyone; do your part this spring and sign up new members. Let's see what we can do to turn this trend back the other way!

I wish everyone a very successful and safe new year. I am looking forward to a great turnout this summer at the 2019 World Tournament in Wichita Falls, TX July 22nd - August 3rd. Don't forget to get your reservations in early.
Thank You.

First Vice President's Report
by Gary Roberts, 1st Vice President

The Rules Committee has completed its review of this year's Rules and Bylaws proposals. The members of the Committee include Gary Roberts, Jerry Labrosse, Gail Sluys, Debby Michaud, Rich Altis, Dan Sanders, and Clarence Lassiter. The Committee members are very knowledgeable and take their duties seriously. The recommendation to move a proposal forward does not necessarily mean that the Committee fully supports it, but it means that the proposal has merit, and the delegates should be able to decide if it should be approved. There were fewer proposals submitted this year and only two rules proposals and one bylaws proposal were recommended to move forward to the 2019 Convention. The recommendations were endorsed by the NHPA Executive Council. The full text of those proposals is included in this issue of Newsline.

As a member of the Hall of Fame Committee, I will be analyzing this year's nominees. All voting must be completed by March 16, 2019. There are many great pitchers and organizers on the ballot this year. Voting decisions can be very difficult. It will be exciting to see who is selected.

The Executive Council met in Wichita Falls, Texas in early February. Although we had a very lengthy agenda, we did have time to tour this year's pitching venues. As most are aware, we will be using two adjoining buildings this year. This makes things more difficult, but I was impressed with the layout and the positive attitude of the hosts. There will be better practice courts this year. If you fly into Dallas-Fort Worth on your way to Wichita Falls, be sure that you have plenty of time to catch your connecting flight. Both Dalton Rakestraw and I found out the consequences of not having sufficient time. Wichita Falls has only a small regional airport. Jim Kinney learned the consequences of driving in an ice storm, and Jerry Smith demonstrated his driving skills by frequently going the wrong way on a one-way street. What happens in Wichita Falls does not necessarily stay in Wichita Falls.

Other Council members will be addressing the most important issues of membership and sponsorship. As the membership issue is discussed, it is important to remember that State Charters play a significant role in the process. Currently, there are serious internal issues in at least three Charters. Because I am involved in grievances, bylaws, add rules, I frequently get contacted to help resolve issues. It is very tricky to determine if or when the NHPA should be involved in Charter issues. It is obviously better if the Charter can resolve its own issues, but the Council is always willing to assist if requested by the Charter officers. I am hopeful these internal struggles can be improved in 2019.

February has been a very difficult month for me because of the death of my uncle, Ottie W. Reno. Ottie was an icon in the horseshoe world. More importantly, Ottie has been the most influential person in my life since I was born. Life will not be the same without him. Unfortunately, we have also lost many of our other horseshoe friends in Ohio in the past few months.

I plan to run for reelection as First Vice President at the 2019 Convention in Wichita Falls. Unlike many of our politicians, I do not have all of the answers to our declining membership and our need for sponsorship. However, I do have a great love for our sport along with a willingness to work hard toward potential solutions. I have enjoyed serving you during the past two years.

Rules and Bylaws Proposals
submitted by the Rules Committee


Rule 1 - Pitching Divisions

Section A - Juniors (See REQUIREMENT 6. for exceptions and additional information)
  1. Junior Cadets (any pitcher twelve (12) years old or younger for the entire calendar year) Junior Cadets may pitch from any place on the extended or full-distance platforms and shall observe the twenty-foot (20') foul line Note: Junior Cadets may choose to move into the Junior Boys or Junior Girls prior to the age guidelines, but cannot return to the Junior Cadets, once this declaration has been made.
PROPOSED CHANGE OF WORDING: (see italic/bold print for changes)

Rule 1 - Pitching Divisions

Section A - Juniors (See REQUIREMENT 6, for exceptions and additional information)
  1. Junior Cadets (any pitcher ten (10) years-old or younger for the entire calendar year) Junior Cadets may pitch from any place on the extended or full-distance platforms and shall observe the twenty-foot (20') foul line Note: Junior Cadets may choose to move into the Junior Boys or Junior Girls prior to the age guidelines, but cannot return to the Junior Cadets, once this declaration has been made.
  • Ninety-nine (99) percent of 10-year-old children can pitch from the 27' foul line. I don't believe that we should be catering to the very few individuals this current rule applies to.
  • We have 12-year-old kids standing at 20 ft. averaging 80%. The age needs to go back. When this change first came up, it was said it was because some of the little 10-year-old girls couldn't reach the stake. Today, we have much lighter shoes available for those little girls (or boys).
  • The age for Cadets was originally 10 years of age and should never have been changed to 12 years of age in the first place. There are very few physical differences between boys and girls of the same age, up to about age 11, and many girls are even larger than boys of their same age. But, based on normal physical adolescent changes of growth and development that DO occur during those two additional years (ages 11 and 12), this current age for Cadets should be changed back to age 10. Twelve is too old! And most would agree that the earlier change from age 10 to age 12 has caused far more problems than it ever solved.
PITCHING DIVISIONS PROPOSAL 2 (see italic/bold print for changes)

Rule 1 - Pitching Divisions
Section E
1 - Elder Men
2 - Physically Challenged Men
3 - Elder Women division for age 80 and over stating Elder Women become eligible to pitch in the Elder Women's division upon purchase of an NHPA card dated for the calendar year that they become eighty (80) years old.
Rule 1 - Elder Women may pitch from any place on either the extended or full distance platforms and shall observe the twenty-foot (20') foul line. Elder Women must notify their Charter secretary, in advance, of the date that they intend to begin pitching from this shorter distance. Once a member declares herself a short distance pitcher, she must remain in that Division until the next year's membership card is purchased. At that time, she may switch back to the Open Women's Division, but must remain in that Division until the next year's card is purchased, etc. NOTE: See Rule 11, Section D.1 for additional information about re-qualifying.
4 - Physically Challenged Men/ Women
Physically challenged, men pitchers less than seventy (70) and women pitchers less than eighty (80) years old may be given permission, by their governing Charter, to move onto the extended platforms in the Physically Challenged Divisions with physically challenged men observing the twenty-seven-foot (27') foul line and the physically challenged women observing the twenty-foot (20') foul line. The prior completion and approval of a Medical Exemption Application Form (available from Charter Secretaries and on some Charter Websites) is required. At the World Tournament and at State Championship Tournaments, they shall compete in the appropriate Elders Divisions.

Just as with the Cadet proposal, the intent of this rule is to provide for equal consideration of both genders. Adding a Women's division to Elders better adheres to the NHPA practice of providing equality of divisions and eliminates the disparity among the NHPA's most seasoned participants. Just as accommodation has been made to allow men seventy (70) and older to continue playing Horseshoes into their most-senior years, it behooves the NHPA to do the same for its Women at age eighty (80). Men may move from the 37' to the 27' foul line, a 10-foot accommodation that allows many men to stay highly competitive in horseshoes when their bodies have become somewhat weakened by the effects of age, inhibiting their ability to find success, and enjoyment, in this sport without the accommodation. Moving the foul line for Elder Women age eighty (80) from 27' to 20' (7 feet) will accomplish the same noble intent behind the Elder Men Division. Many women who have quit the game will again be able to join their friends in competitive horseshoes. Younger NHPA Women will see the commitment and value the NHPA places on them and, like men, may continue to pitch with the NHPA the rest of their life, a definite NHPA membership-strengthening outcome. The 20' foul line is now an accepted part of the NHPA rules with its use to accommodate our youngest pitchers who may lack strength or stamina to compete at longer distances. Allowing Elder Women, age 80 and over, and Physically Challenged Women the option to move to this distance affords them the same accommodation, for the same reasons, with the exception that it is effects of older age, not extreme youth. Accepting this proposal will demonstrate to the NHPA's female membership that they are of great and indeed equal value to NHPA's men.

ARTICLE IX: Convention
SECTION 10.  A city or organization desiring to hold a World Tournament shall place its bid in the hands of the NHPA Secretary-Treasurer by the March 15th, two years in advance. The NHPA President shall designate one or more members of the Executive Council to open bids after he/she has determined that these members shall have no conflict   of interest in the matter. No bids will be considered unless all of the following conditions are met and approved by the ExecutiveCouncil.

SECTION 10.  A city or organization desiring to hold a World Tournament shall place its bid in the hands of the NHPA Secretary-Treasurer by the 1st of January , two years in advance. The NHPA President shall designate one or more members of the Executive Council to open bids after he/she has determined that these members shall have no conflict of interest in the matter. No bids will be considered unless all of the following conditions are met and approved by the ExecutiveCouncil.

The recent bylaw change authorizing the Executive Council the power and responsibility to select World Tournament (WT) sites has made the "March 15th" deadline date an unacceptable date as it relates to the timing of the normally scheduled "Annual Winter Meeting". This meeting is the only time the Council meets face to face outside of the WT and has traditionally been scheduled in late January or early February. This change allows the Council time to study WT bid proposals, hold discussions, and make the selection during these winter meetings.

Membership, sponsorship, promotion, publicity
by Laurie Lampkin, 2nd VP Publicity & Promotion

The 2019 World Tournament which will be in Wichita Falls, TX this year, we thought that it would be fitting to invite former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush to be our guests at the opening ceremonies this year considering George H.W. Bush's love for the sport of horseshoes.

An invitation was sent directly to the Bush compound/ranch just outside of the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. The NHPA on behalf of its officers and members sent condolences to the Bush family on the recent loss of former President George H.W. Bush. We thought we could give it a shot and attempt to see if we could make this happen given the public speaking engagement schedule of President Bush.


Here is what we received from President Bush's staff. These letters will be on display at the World Tournament for everyone to stop by and see at the NHPF table. Unfortunately, both President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush have prior speaking engagements and cannot attend. They are booked a minimum of 2 years in advance.

The Hall of Fame Banquet will be held on Sunday Evening, July 28, 2019. The Hall of Banquet Tickets are now on sale. The price is $30.00 per ticket. Happy Hour will begin at 5:00 p.m. and dinner will be served approximately at 6:00 p.m. with inductions and awards ceremonies beginning promptly at 7:00 p.m. We had lots of fun last year with the "Live Auction" and so we will have lots of items to auction off again this year.

Some of the auction items will be on display at the NHPF booth in the Ray Clymer Exhibit Hall. If anyone would like to purchase your tickets in advance, please contact Jim Kinney- NHPA Sec. /Treas. until July 12th. After that date you will have to purchase your tickets at the NHPF booth in Wichita at the Tournament. The Hall of Fame Banquet is going to be an exciting and fun evening for everyone.

Hall of Fame Menu - Texas Cuisine  
The Chef needs to be made aware of any special dietary needs a minimum of one week prior to the banquet to ensure alternative meals will be available. There is no such thing as too soon. With the exception of desserts and salad dressing, I can guarantee that all food will be MSG free. If any of the dressings or desserts have MSG, I will have a list available three days prior to the banquet.
  • Tender and Tasty Brisket - three-day process which ensures delicious meat that will hold together on your fork but will fall apart in your mouth.
  • Bar-Be-Que Chicken Breast - Marinated overnight to ensure full flavor with every bite.
  • Perfect Potato Salad - Perfectly cooked potatoes covered in a dressing that enhances the flavor of the potatoes without overpowering them.
  • Home-Style Sweet Corn - Corn off the cob cooked with butter, salt, and pepper.
  • Ranch Style Green Beans - Cooked with onions, garlic, and bacon.
  • Fresh Baked Dinner Rolls - Served warm with butter on the side.
Assorted Desserts
A varying selection of pies, cakes, cobblers, and other desserts.
Tea, Sweet and Unsweetened, Coffee - Regular & Decaf, Soft Drinks
Ice water available on the table and as needed.

Junior Scholarships
by Jerry Smith, 3rd VP Sanction League Director

It's time for my annual Junior Scholarship announcement article which will sound repetitive because it is. I repeat the requirements and information in an attempt to enlighten the league directors around to country to keep this program in mind for their youthful league pitchers. The NHPA takes great pride in being able to offer young people a venue where they can participate in a sporting activity in which they can achieve national recognition by pitching horseshoes and doing well in their academic pursuits. In order to promote success in the classroom, the NHPA has established the Sanctioned League Scholarship Program. This program is open to any NHPA Junior member that participates in a junior or adult sanctioned league and observes the 27-foot foul line. Awards are given annually, and the ranking system is based equally on the combination of academics and league participation.

To be eligible for the scholarship, a junior must be in the 7th through the 12th grade in a Middle, Junior, or Senior high school. An equivalent home school may qualify. Juniors must also be between the ages of 12 through 18 the year they apply for a scholarship.

The applicant must maintain a grade point average of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale, 80% or higher on a 100% scale, or the equivalent of a "B" letter grade or higher. All class grades are to be figured in the grade point determination. His/her grade point average must be maintained for an entire year.

All qualified applicants will be recognized as a NHPA Honor Scholar and those above the "Honorable Mention" level will receive monetary scholarships. Scholarship amounts are determined by the NHPA Sanctioned League Director and approved by the Executive Council. Recognition includes a scholarship certificate, a junior scholar patch, and the scholarship value which is held in trust. When the pitcher reaches adult pitching age and they enroll in some sort of higher education or training, they may apply for and receive the funds owed them. After their 21st birthday if they have not chosen to pursue higher education or training, their trust fund is forfeited.

To apply for an NHPA scholarship, juniors must submit an application and all of the necessary forms for the current school year by December 31st of each year. For example, a junior applying in the fall, would submit paperwork for the full previous school year. Also required is a copy of the pitcher's birth certificate or other proof of age, and the official NHPA Scholarship Application which is available on the NHPA website under the league tab.
The 2018 Junior Scholarship Applicants and their awards are:
1.  Taylor Coile                 Comer, GA                        $250.00
2.  Leon Wolken               Jefferson City, MO            $200.00
3.  Audrey Caravello        Merriam, KS                      $175.00
4.  Sophie Craven            Kansas City, MO               $150.00
5.  Marshall Morgan         Liberty, MO                        $125.00
6.  Zane Morgan              Liberty, MO                        $100.00
A reminder to league directors, the minimum number of shoes for a league pitcher to pitch to receive NATSTATS credit is now 200 shoes.

Attention all regional directors and clubs: 

All courts within your charter must be re-sanctioned 
and turned in to Dalton Rakestraw as completed by July 2, 2019

Regional director: Ready
 for Worlds
by Dalton Rakestraw, 5th VP Regional Director

Another article, and another hard time with the opening, HA! The NHPA winter officer meeting has come and gone, just two short days, filled with NHPA business. As a newcomer, I had no idea how much goes on behind the scenes and now I know. It is a tough job. I am excited to take on this position and I am glad to have been given the opportunity. These are some big shoes to fill and I have stepped up to the plate for my pitch. Setup for the world tournament will begin on July 16, 2019. Those who would like to help, please let me know. We have a job to get done and we will stick to a strict time schedule. I am looking forward to getting back to Wichita Falls and opening the trailer to officially begin the ambiance of the world tournament.

I have most of the patch orders sent in for 2019. I am just awaiting a few states to order. RD's please make sure you send in your orders in enough time to get them before your first event. Please do not wait till the week before.

I encourage everyone to check out the Horseshoe Tour schedule of events. I personally endorse these tournaments and find they are fun and hard won. Check out the website

Newberry, South Carolina, is the first event on the calendar, April 13-14, 2019.

We have implemented the idea of a double line at the shoe check for 2019. This will help speed up things and get you in and to pictures quickly. I am counting on my RD's to help out as usual. We have also asked that the RDs help us out with shift directing. We have two buildings to operate this year. An NHPA Officer will run the coliseum, with the most pits and the RD will be the assistant director, helping in the smaller building. This will be a huge help and most fun for all involved.

I close this article just having come back home to Kentucky from a long weekend. I went to the Hall of Fame in Wentzville, MO, to pitch in the Spring Team Handicap tournament. A doubles tournament that is handicapped, and you play as a team. My teammates were the Tennessee Twins, Max Griffith and Mar Ray. Along with the king judge Mr. Rich Altis from MO. As well and Mr. off-step, Jim Culver from Kentucky. We did not win, but we sure had fun! (Handicap got us...) 

I leave you with this: everything has to be shipped, including shipping ships on the ocean. So, is there a ship shipping ship, shipping, shipping ships?" Let me know what you think. Many ringers from me to you!

Juniors: Rioux not Rio
by Aleena Lepak, Juniors Director

When most people hear Rio, they think of the warm city in South America. When the horseshoe community hears Rio, we think about a certain 12-year-old girl from Bristol Connecticut. Skyla Rioux is a seventh-grade competitive gamer with an intensity for horseshoes.

Starting at eight years old, Skyla found horseshoes difficult as she was learning from her Dad and Grandpa. Now, she finds it easier and loves to win against her dad, which is usually a shutout. The trio have now become the three Rioux musketeers as they continue to compete in tournaments and play together. Skyla is now averaging 60.33% and has previously won the Connecticut Cadet State title, and the New England Cadet title twice. She has also placed in many tournaments throughout the years.

When she isn't competing, or dominating against her dad, Skyla enjoys playing basketball, and the video game Fortnight, or GTA5. Her favorite subject in school is Math as it seems easy right now. If she had the choice, and unlimited money, she would also enjoy shopping for new clothes, shoes, and games for her X-box.

Skyla stated she likes to pitch horseshoes because, "I get to hang out with a lot of people and make new friends." Her horseshoe idols are Brian Simmons and Debbie Brown. Skyla really admires Debbie and she is the one who taught Skyla how to throw a turn shoe. For those who have watched Skyla pitch, she stood further towards the Jr foul line than most cadets. Skyla indicated she did this to make an easier transition into the Jr. Girl division. Her first tournament as a Jr was a lose but she persevered and won her next tournament. Skyla is looking forward to a great and rewarding season with many more to come. A World Title may be in her future.

Hall of Fame Update
by Vicki Winston

I send you greetings as my area awaits the arrival of yet another winter weather event. One rolls through every few days. I am joining the millions of people who are anxiously awaiting the arrival of spring and asking the tired question, "What happened to global warming?" Just kidding, because I know that global warming is a serious issue and it does exist.

I n between snow storms, I was able to get to a post office (when one was open) and get the voting materials mailed to the members of the Hall of Fame Committee, so as I write this article we are beginning the serious task of once again reviewing all of the nominations and casting our votes in the 2019 HOF election. Hopefully I will be able to surprise a future inductee or two with a phone call in the weeks ahead.

A member of the NHPA Council has advised me that the 2019 Hall of Fame and Awards Banquet will be held in the Ray Clymer Building, which is next door to the Arena in Wichita Fall, Texas. Tickets are $30 each and must be ordered in advance. You may make your reservations and send payment to the NHPA Secretary/Treasurer, Jim Kinney. The banquet is an enjoyable way to spend the Sunday evening between the two weeks of pitching at the World Tournament.

Since my last article was written, I have received word of the passing of two distinguished members of the Hall of Fame. The first was Len Lipovsky who passed away at the age of 92 on Jan. 20,2019. Len pitched horseshoes for many years and was a hard worker and promoter in the State of Minnesota. I was told that some years ago, when the charter was in turmoil, Len is the person most responsible for keeping the Minnesota charter affiliated with the NHPA. That was not a small task.

On Feb. 11, 2019 we lost Ottie Reno Sr. If you never met Ottie, you missed meeting a great man. He pitched for many decades and had a very long streak of consecutive appearances in the World Tournament. He also promoted our sport both in Ohio and Alabama. He wrote several books pertaining to horseshoe pitching and one year even saved the World Tournament. In 1976 the World Tournament was going to be held on temporary courts that were to be constructed on vacant property in a residential neighborhood in Levittown, PA. Some of the residents in that area became worried that members of the NHPA were not the type of people they wanted to have visit in their neighborhood and they filed a lawsuit to stop the tournament from begin held. When the NHPA Secretary/Treasurer received notice of this lawsuit and the date the court hearing would be held, he was not able to get in contact with the NHPA President, so he called my husband, who was NHPA First VP at the time. The Secretary/Treasurer didn't know what to do. He was not able to make the trip to represent the NHPA. My husband said he would call Ottie Reno, who was a judge, and ask his advice. Ottie said a NHPA representative should be present, or the NHPA would lose the case. Ottie volunteered to go to PA and represent the NHPA at the hearing. It turns out the plaintiff did not show up for the hearing and the judge ruled in favor of the NHPA. The tournament went on as scheduled and I was told that some neighbors viewed what was going on during the tournament and apologized to the NHPA for their actions. They discovered that NHPA members were not a bunch of riff-raff as some had feared and that many pitchers possessed a great amount of skill at what they were doing.

I certainly extend my condolences to the families of these two good men who are no longer a part of our horseshoe family. They each contributed much to the sport of horseshoe pitching during their lifetime and will be missed.

I have made tentative plans to spend a few days in Wichita Falls, TX during the World Tournament. The Good Lord willing, perhaps I will see you there.

NHPF Update
by Casey Sluys, NHPF President

We are now well into 2019 and some of you may have noticed that there are some real die-hard horseshoe pitchers in the world. The Arcade Winterfest in NY pitching with 3 inches of snow on the ground (and still snowing) in 18-degree temperatures. Many thanks to Wendy Maston for the pictures and running the event.

The San Francisco Club had 13 brave souls pitching in a down pouring rain. The only person not pitching below their average was a young man who won the tournament champion patch, Luke Zepponi. Thanks to Peter Zepponi (and winner of group 2.)

Still others are showing their skills on their home court at Horseshoe Pitching Online (HPO), sometimes in the dark with a flashlight, sometimes with frozen solid courts, others with small raised pits, some with zero walkways, crooked stakes and so on. But what does it matter they are pitching, and we are promoting horseshoes in a new and exciting way. Twelve shoe games telecast on Facebook for all the world to see. One International friendly tournament has been held between Canada and the US. Thanks to Tom Moffat in Canada for arranging it. An offer has been extended to South Africa and Namibia to join us at HPO. We will also be asking our contacts in Europe to join us. Who knows we might end up with a huge International event with 12 shoe games? We sincerely appreciate everyone's effort in the promotion of the sport of horseshoe pitching keep up the great work at the attempt to enlighten everyone about the NHPA.

What's all of the above have to do with the NHPF? It behooves us to search out new pitchers no matter where they pitch in the hopes that they will eventually join us. If we can increase our membership it will develop an opportunity to gain more donors. Those of you that are donors to the NHPF we sincerely thank you. It's through your generous contributions that we are able to continue rotating the various displays within your Hall of Fame. Remember that it is your Hall of Fame it belongs to every single member of the NHPA and was developed to preserve the history, showcase the present and build the future of horseshoe pitching through grants and educational programs.  Please visit our website at there is a wealth of information there along with a donor form, a brick order form plus information about our grant program.

In the last issue I wrote about the Charter that donates the gift creating the most income for the NHPF would receive a gift from us. You will still need to visit our booth at the WT in Texas to find out what that gift is though. I still need to persuade the others on the board that this is a good idea.

I see on our donation list there is a donation earmarked for the Bush brick. A few months ago, I asked specifically for such donations. We decided to purchase one for our 41st president whether or not we received specific donations, I'm happy we did and again I thank each of you for your continued support to the NHPF.


We express our sincere thanks to the following who have donated as reported in the Mar/Apr 2019 issue of Newsline.

Donating $10-$99
Terry & Lorraine, WI
Carol Casados, AZ
QRHC Wednesday Golfers, MO
Oklahoma HPA, OK
Charles Bunner, WV
Rick Wright, MN
Donating $100-$300
Paul & Korinne Wiese, WI
Anthony Ridder, KS
(Earmarked for Bush Brick)
Minnesota HPA
Richmond/Ottawa HC, KS
(Grant Repayment)
Donating $900-$1000
Highlands County HC, FL
Other Income
National Horseshoe Pitchers Assn.
$ 450.00 ck Rent
Quail Ridge Horseshoe Club, MO
$ 2500.00 ck Rent

Horseshoes: The Best Sport for Women
submitted by Ellyn Ohms

It was a warm spring afternoon and I was practicing with my high school horseshoe team, when looking around I couldn't help but notice how few girls there were pitching horseshoes (I was the only one on the team). I further compared my observation to weekend tournaments and the pattern held true, very few women. The more I thought about this lack feminine representation in horseshoes it didn't make any sense. I considered several aspects of this sport that should each appeal directly to us girls.

Social - Horseshoes is the best interpersonal sport. Every girl wants to have friends and let's face it; most of us like to chat. When playing, you are able to talk with your competitor about any of life's joys or challenges, as well as the game at hand. You get to learn about your competitor and them about you. Playing horseshoes is a fun, interactive way to develop new friendships, some of which may last for a lifetime. Now don't get me wrong, horseshoes is still really competitive, but it is also really social, something few sports can boast.

Lady-Like - Horseshoes is non-impact. There is no lung-bursting, heart-tiring, sweat-dripping or head-cracking. For us girls who enjoy the thrill of competition, horseshoes still delivers, but without all the sweat, torn muscles, and concussions of your typical ball field offerings. The official rules even accommodate women by providing a less-strenuous 30' distance to pitch from. We can go straight from the courts to home, or wherever, without having to take all the time to change clothes, shower, do extra laundry, etc. Though a good form of moderate exercise, pitching horseshoes won't leave you passed-out in exhaustion on the sofa with a smelly bag of gym clothes to show for it when you are done.

Style - Because the movement involved in pitching a horseshoe is moderate and controlled, girls can wear a bunch of stylish outfits. What to wear is not heavily constrained by our sport. I have even been told that some women used to play in dresses years ago! When I pitched in Florence last year, my Junior Girls class had a bunch of beautiful and stylish young ladies, most of whom wore makeup and looked great. How many sports will let a girl show of her grace and style while in the heat of world-class competition?

Relationships - If you had not figured it out by now, currently there are many more young men than there are young women playing horseshoes. That's what us ladies call "great odds!" What girl doesn't like being the center of attention? Horseshoes has been the spawning grounds for some fantastic relationships from Earl and Vicki Winston to Alan and Amy Francis.

Affordable - Compared to other sports, horseshoes is incredibly more affordable. For example, annual golf county club memberships can easily range from $1000-$5000. And that's not counting the cost of clubs, balls, and tournaments. NHPA full membership is under $50 and a pair of good horseshoes is under $100. Think of all the great things we can buy with the money we didn't blow on golf (or other pricey sports). Maybe you can save that retained money for a great vacation getaway or World Tournament trip.

Achievement - Every girl wants to be recognized for her accomplishments, right? For many, succeeding at reaching a goal to make 3 or 4 ringers out of 10 shoes can be a great personal achievement worthy of high praise. Unlike many sports, horseshoes offers women and men equal opportunities to win State or World championships at the same tournaments! And at mixed weekend tournaments ladies even get the chance to take on the guys. Along with the men, top women and girls are recognized by their NHPA ringer percentage in national rankings. In horseshoes, achievements are always plentiful for those who consistently try to become better.

Relaxing - Every year, millions of Americans head for their favorite spot in the woods to take in that refreshing mountain air while relaxing from the stresses of life. But there is something else that almost all Americans do while camping to help them decompress. That's right, they bring along horseshoes. Countless hours are enjoyed every year as Moms and Dads, Brothers and Sisters try to best each other in these impromptu horseshoe games.

Family - Ithink family is the most important part of horseshoes; and to most women, family is most important thing in life. It's a perfect match. Horseshoes is a family-friendly lifetime sport for all ages, many starting as young as 5 years old, playing competitively right on through their 80s. Horseshoes is a beautiful sport that can build and strengthen families.
I love horseshoes; it runs is my family with 4 generations of NHPA members and World tournament participants. Whether you have years of experience, or are brand new in the sport, I challenge you to invite the women in your life to give this sport a try. Horseshoes to me is the best sport for Women.

(About the author - Ellyn Ohms is a Junior at Canyon View High School in Cedar City, Utah. She is the Capitan of her High School horseshoe team and was the 2018 Player of the Year as she led her High School team to the State championship. She earned her varsity letter, becoming the first girl to ever do so in the sport. She has played in 4 world tournaments placing third in the Girls Championships in 2018. She was the first attendant of the Miss Ringer pageant in 2017. She is the reigning Junior Girl Utah State Champion.)

Horseshoe Trivia
submitted by Gary Roberts

In the last issue of Newsline, I addressed the subject of the greatest horseshoe pitcher that never won a Men's World Championship. Predictably, the first name to appear was Casey Jones who averaged 87.5% at the 1948 World Tournament in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and finished second to Fernando Isais. This was a World record at the time. Before you decide who was the greatest in this category, let me detail the exploits of Ray Martin of Philo, Illinois. Ray pitched a one- and three-quarter turn with Ohio O's.

Ray's first appearance in the World Tournament occurred in 1960 in Muncie, Indiana. It was not an impressive start as he finished 27th averaging 70.4%. He returned to Muncie in 1961 and performed a little better finishing 16th with a 72.8% average. Ray came to Greenville, Ohio in 1962 and finished 12th with a 78.5% average. Ray did not participate in the 1963 World Tournament but returned to Greenville in 1964. The 1964 Tournament was one of the greatest of all time with thirteen (13) pitchers averaging over 80%. Ray was one of them finishing 6th with an average of 82.9%. He established his reputation of fighting to the end in every game. He also started the trend of losing heart breaking games. In this Tournament, Ray lost to Ralph Maddox by a score of 52-48 in 176 shoes! Ray threw 87% against Harold Reno only to lose by a score of 52-43 in a 162-shoe match! Martin finally won a titanic match against Curt Day by a score of 52-46 by pitching 88% for 150 shoes! These games were a sign of things to come in future years.

Ray came to Keene, New Hampshire in 1965 for no other reason than to win the World Championship. He came up short by one game while finishing second with an average of 85.7%. His history of heart-breaking losses continued. The great Ted Allen was in the twilight of his career but was still dangerous and defeated Ray by a score of 52-49 in 132 shoes. In Round 18 of the Tournament Ray tangled with Glen "Red" Henton of Iowa, in what is arguably the greatest game ever pitched. In this 194-shoe game, Red had 175 ringers for 90.2% while Ray had 174 ringers for 89.7% while losing by a score of 52-49. If this was not enough, Ray then had to play Danny Kuchinski, the 17-year-old future World Champion. Danny defeated Ray 51-47 in 160 shoes! Ray managed to defeat Marines Tamboer of Kansas by a score of 52-49 in 180 shoes! A final loss to Jim Solomon ended Ray's title hopes. If he had won even one of the close games, he would have been tied for the Championship.

In 1966, Ray traveled to Murray, Utah and finished 4th with an 82.8% average. This set the stage for Ray's most heart-breaking Tournament of all in Fargo, North Dakota in 1967. Pitching conditions in Fargo could not match the conditions in Keene. The clay was gritty and irritated the fingers of some of the pitchers. Ray won his first 22 games before losing to Paul Focht in a poorly pitched game. He then lost to the great Curt Day. Going into the last game of the Tournament, Ray had to beat Danny Kuchinski to create a playoff situation. On the last pitch Ray threw only one ringer. Dan's first shoe was on, but he missed the second shoe which landed in the box and rolled close to the stake for a 50-49 victory. Ray was devastated by this loss. He ended up third with an 81.0% average.