Ringer Digest
April/May/June 2020
A Charter of the NHPA
Official Publication of the Minnesota Gopher State Horseshoe Pitchers' Association
Charter Bulletin Board
To All Friends in Horseshoe

Due to everything going on with the Corona Virus, it is with a heavy heart that we have to cancel all Tournaments and League play until further notice. It is only the right thing to do for the safety of everyone involved. We will keep you informed when we can start back up. With that being said, this should not stop you from purchasing your 2020 card so that you will be ready when we start back up. With the new "Eshoe" system being used by the NHPA, you will not be receiving a printed NHPA website (www.horseshoepitching.com) and scrolling down to Eshoe, and searching for your record, it's simple. All Tournament and League directors will be verifying that you have purchased or renewed your membership information from the website.

I hope everyone enjoys this time with your family and I wish you all a Happy Easter. Until we can all meet again, take care of yourselves and family.

MGSHPA President
Rick Wright


The Litchfield horseshoe club spring meeting will be held Saturday May 2 nd  At 9:00 am at Precast Systems in Darwin . Hopefully our efforts to contain this virus now will allow us to get back to our regular schedules sooner than later!!


Nomination Deadlines

Hall of Fame - May 1st      (includes Junior Honor Roll )
Junior Scholarship Award - May 1st
Edi Holland Sportsmanship Award - August 1st
Rookie of the Year - August 1st
Achievement Awards - August 1st

Nominations Director: Joe Mueller     Jmueller0822@msn.com


From the Editor
Jerry LaBrosse

    We are all going through a very difficult time. Everybody has both common and unique issues to deal with. We all have to buckle down and know that we'll get through this. I thank God that we cancelled our long planned Jukskei trip to South Africa,  because we would have been trapped there for who knows how long. We made that decision the moment the president restricted air travel to Europe.
The weather is improving and soon we can do more things outdoors. It looks like golf courses may be allowed to operate !!

      Next I want to say a few words about the Upsala Horseshoe Club. Mel and Joyce Larson have devoted a very large chunk of their lives running the horseshoe operations in Upsala. They have 8 indoor clay courts that have hosted hundreds of fine tournaments over the years. Back when I got involved, the Upsala Spring and Upsala Fall tournaments were huge two day events. There were lots of barn burner  Class A finals. Back in 2001 when the World Tournament was awarded to Hibbing, we decided to hold some winter tournaments there to offer more qualifying events for our members. Well, the tournaments caught on and for the next 16 or so years we had at least 3 winter tournaments in Upsala. Mel and Joyce have always been wonderful and gracious hosts, and have faithfully provided concessions as well.  Mel and Joyce were inducted into the MGSHPA Hall of Fame in 2010 as promoters, and will never be forgotten. Thank you Mel and Joyce, and God bless you!

      At the Spring board meeting in Forest Lake recently, we made an adjustment in our board membership. My philosophy has always been to get more people involved in any organization to spread the workload and have more points of view when discussing issues. Since I have multiple jobs I asked Rick to seek someone out who wanted to get involved as a VP. I'm happy to say that Jeff Washburn is excited to step into that position and be the South Vice Prez for the MGSHPA. Jeff has a long history with horseshoes in MN, and will undoubtedly be a fine asset to our team.
Mel and Joyce Larson
Upsala Club News
By Mel and Joyce Larson

Another Upsala winter horseshoe league done 2020.
We had only 12 pitchers this year in our afternoon league, one woman , 2 men and the other nine elders.  Randy Werk is the youngest in his sixties, Mel Larson the oldest, soon to be 86.
 After 10 weeks of league, winner was Al Nicholson , Mel Larson 2nd and Walt Beneke 3rd.
Then we had our year end tourney , we divided into 4 man classes.
Class A was a 3-way tie divided by total points as our format is countall.  Annette Grebonoski was 1s place. 
Class B winner was Walt Beneke,  Class C won by Don Waldoch.
The three pitchers then played off for the grand champ which was won by Annette. She absolutely destroyed her competition
Because of the Covid-19, we opted not to have our year end banquet.
There was no Monday night league.  This was the first year that has occurred, just no interest.  Only 3 people wanted it and we just couldn't dig up any more and believe me, we tried.
I can recall when Joyce and Mel moved to the Upsala area, there were 40-50 horseshoe pitchers in our league, usually Monday and Tuesday evenings.  Our league was doubles and one single. There was year end tournament with 80 pitchers.  This was before sanctions came into play.
Then the tourneys for years were week end affairs with Saturday all day and Sunday afternoon, usually had 5 or 6 divisions.  If one wanted to get in a tourney, he had better sign up a month early. There were quite a
Few women and a few below the age of 16.  This continued for years, probably to 2000 plus. There were seven tournaments here all in the Fall and Winter. Much fun.  Many things started the downfall.
  1. Other facilities for winter pitching got started. I'm not sure where they all are located Probably the biggest was Dakota Magic.
  2. Pitchers got old and not many young pitchers got started.
  3. Upsala had the only 8 court in the state with clay pits.
  4. Mel and Joyce could not find anyone to take over our job of renting and maintaining the building.We really tried , too much work to do.  Now we are both 86 years old.
So we bid a very fond farewell to everyone for a fun filled era in our lives.
We will keep our winter league as long as possible but there were no tourneys in the arena this year.
            Mel and Joyce Larson

Rick Wright

From The President

     Well another year has gone by and I know with everything going on in this world today, it may be hard to be thinking about starting our 2020 season. Many people are scared and worried but it is times like this that we need to lean on our
friends and relatives to help us carry on. Friends and family are the best medicine you can have. Like I have said many times before, you meet and make good friends on the courts in our sport. So I ask everyone to lean on those friends you have made over the years if only to talk and share. You will be surprised how those friendships can help you thru times like this. I also believe it helps if we have hope for the future. So I would like to say, I am looking forward to this season and getting back on the courts for some good old competition.

We do have upcoming tournaments for those that need them to qualify for our Minnesota State Tournament in Hibbing this year. As we are all trying to get back to business as usual, please contact me or the tournament director with any questions or check the website and your emails for postponed or canceled tournaments.

I encourage all League Directors to communicate any changes or updates in the horseshoe world with your members that do not have computer access. Just a reminder, any new player that has not been a member in the last 2 years, will get our State dues waived. And if that new member qualifies for our State tournament, we will waive the State fee for entering. This means they only pay $25 to join in all the fun for the year.

We will be taking bids for the 2021 & 2022 State Tournament at our Membership meeting. We have 2 options to put on the tournament. We have 20 portable courts that can be moved and set up at your venue or I have confirmed with Shawn, the Genola Caretaker that we are welcome to have the State Tournament in Genola again for any club that would be interested in hosting. I will need your bid in writing by August 1st, 2020.

I am looking forward to going back to Hibbing for the State tournament and actually playing this year. In my 33 years, this was the first time I had missed playing due to a bad arm. But I am healthy and ready to pitch. They did a fantastic job last year hosting this big event. I encourage anyone who was not able to attend last year to try and participate this year. It really was a lot of fun. I cannot say this enough but The Hibbing Club know how to put on a great show.

I wish you all a safe and healthy 2020 season. (Again, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact me or any officer)

See you on the courts!
Michelle Fiord
Promotions/News Media
By Michelle Fiord

Hi all! I would like to introduce myself as your new Promotions/ News Media Director. A little bit about myself. I have been playing horseshoes since 2002, but this is only my second year in the NHPA. I really love horseshoes and I love the people I play with. I am also on a dock diving team Team STING. We have a team of 4 dogs which we jump off a dock. I am the pitcher of the team who throws the bumper for the dogs. So my summer is booked up between horseshoes and dock diving.     So I feel in promoting horseshoes the way to go is through social media. With Team STING we are on Facebook, Instagram and Tik Tok. We have learned through social media how to reach out to more people. We have also created videos which promotes our team. Each social media page is different and attracts different groups of people. So for MGSHPA we already have a Facebook page. I am now a co admin with Josh. I will be posting tournament info, pictures and results of tournaments and other horseshoe related stuff. Please feel free to share anything posted and I welcome you to post horseshoe stuff as well. If you don't want to post yourself or are not on social media feel free to contact me and I can post for you. If you are curious about social media and are interested in getting on I can help you with that just contact me. I started a MN horseshoe page for Instagram and Tik Tok as well. Quick info on each of the pages. Instagram is for pictures and videos. You may have seen #'s on Facebook and wonder what that is all about. Hashtags are used to search. So in the search bar you type in horseshoes. Any pictures and videos that use #horseshoes will pop up in that search. So the more hashtags you use the more likely someone will run across your pictures or videos. Tik Tok is similar except that they only have videos. Videos are either 15 seconds or 60 seconds. One video can be posted on all 3 social media pages. One video I made on Tik Tok has 77.9k views. I plan on making more videos. So you may see me out taking video of people pitching.    On Facebook you can find us by searching Minnesota Gopher State Horseshoe Pitchers Association (MGSHPA). On Instagram you can find us by searching Mnhorseshoeclub. On Tik Tok you can also find us by searching Mnhorseshoeclub.   I won't be able to go to all the tournaments so to those of you running a tournament if you could take a picture of each class, a picture of the winners and a picture of the results. Then email those to me so I can post the pictures and results. Also if you still have spots open in a tournament and are looking for more people I can post on facebook.     A suggestion to all the clubs. Let me know when your spring meetings are and I can post that on Facebook. Also if you or a club member is on Facebook many cities have a community page on Facebook. So find your local city page and post about your spring meeting and welcome new players. If you want or need help contact me and I can help.     I welcome any ideas or thoughts on how to promote horseshoes. I am working with other players throughout the US and hope to help grow the sport. I look forward to meeting more of you this year.

Spring Board Meeting Minutes
March 7, 2020 
The meeting was called to order  at 9:05 am . The following people were in attendance: President Rick Wright, Jerry LaBrosse, Eric Dehkes, Joe Mueller, Helen Hawkinson-Mike and Michelle Foard.
Rick Wright brought a motion to accept Michelle Foard for the new media position. All officers in attendance agreed. Motion passed.
Michelle talked a little about the online video maker "Tik Tok" and other platforms she will be using to promote horseshoes. Michelle will post on facebook different events and photos. She discussed how facebook helped find the newest horseshoe player Sarah Nelson who is now sanctioned and will be playing in the Isanti tournament next weekend. Rick Wright informed her that she should run information past him before posting anything league or rule related.
Rick Wright made a motion to accept the last meeting minutes. Motion passed.
The financial report was discussed briefly as Treasurer Ann Hagman was not in attendance as she was ill. Currently there is approximately $3,700 in the bank account. The financial report will be discussed in more detail at the next meeting.
Officer Reports.
South VP Jerry LaBrosse discussed Ann getting an article into the Ringer Digest regarding "EShoe" and how to sign up online. No membership cards are needed any longer but you can print them from the National horseshoe website. Discussion by Michelle Foard regarding paper copies of the Ringer digest to the elder members who do not have computers. Josh Olson keeps a list of all members who want paper copies and sends them out.
Upsala will no longer host horseshoe tournaments. Jerry would like a tribute written for the digest profiling Mel and Joyce Larson who have been Hall of Fame members since the 70s. Helen suggested that Janet be asked to write an article. Jerry will talk to Janet to write an article for publication.
There are 8 mats that were originally with the Isanti portable pits that are currently located in Hibbing. A motion was made to get them from the trailer at the state tournament and bring them to Isanti to be used with the portable pits because the floor is slippery. All officers agreed. Motion passed.
North VP Eric Dehkes discussed Genola and hosting the Minnesota doubles tournament there and future state tournaments. Rick Wright is going to contact the Mayor or others that have information about the facility. Minnie Fischer lives in Genola and may be a good contact for information. They are using the building for storage and if we don't get in contact with someone soon we could lose the opportunity to use the Genola location for state and other tournaments.
Eric discussed Team World and that there are 5 teams going from Minnesota. The top two teams entry fees are paid by the MGSHPA. Shirts are being made. Rick Wright wanted to order a shirt.
Helen read portions of Dalton Rakestraw's letter sent to April Lynch as Junior Promotions Director. He wanted a donation by the different horseshoe clubs to help pay for the junior and cadet entertainment and/or trophies at the World Tournament. Jerry said that the state hosting the world tournament already is required to set aside money for the junior and cadet entertainment so is not inclined to offer any money for this purpose.
Helen discussed the Big and Little non-sanctioned league that will be held at the Forest Lake VFW on Tuesdays starting in June. April Lynch and Helen will be running the doubles league. It will consist of one child and one adult team playing against other child and adult teams and will teach fundamentals, scoring, as well as playing games. She is hoping to recruit more pitchers for sanctioned leagues by starting this league through the Forest Lake Community Education.
Michelle discussed the idea that Shawn Warnemunde had about putting an ad in the Star Tribune for promoting horseshoe leagues but decided it was too expensive. Michelle will put an ad in Facebook community pages. She also requested that we include addresses of the different horseshoe clubs on the state website. Josh should do this. Michelle will put photos on the Facebook page of the classes and winners of tournaments.
Michelle wants to be able to sign up and pay for tournaments by using paypal. Rick Wright said it was up to the individual tournament directors if they wanted to get a paypal account and advertise accordingly.
Rick wants Michelle to write an article introducing herself and what she will be doing as media director on the Ringer Digest.
Jerry will put a statement on the "bulletin board" on the Ringer Digest asking for a Grand Prize donation for fundraising.
Michelle suggested having a fun horseshoe picnic and possibly have a silent auction, games, food. It was decided that it would be a lot of work even if a committee was organized to help with it. Perhaps this could be done at the Minnesota Doubles Tournament in Genola that Eric and the Pine City Club is running.
Helen discussed new member bags that the National Horseshoe Association was advertising. Michelle said that Sarah and Karl were also new members and should get a bag. We should talk to Ann about getting 3 new member bags. We will need sizes for the shirts and the colors they want.
Michelle made a motion to waive the state tournament fee for first time sanctioned members or a member who hasn't been sanctioned for 2 years if they qualify for the state tournament. Motion passed.
The state tournament will be held in Hibbing again this year. Bids will be taken until August 1 for clubs to host the state tournament. If no bids are received then the Board decides.
Minnesota doubles will be held in Genola if possible otherwise it will be held in Forest Lake. The tournament will be held on September 19 and 20. Josh should be informed so he can put it on the website under tournaments.
No unfinished business.
New business. Rick made a motion to raise dues. He would like to raise the Minnesota dues $7.00. Motion voted on and passed. Rick will take it to the Association at the membership meeting for a vote. If the Association passes the motion, the cost of dues for national and state will be $45.00 instead of $38.00.
Rick is working on revising the Constitution and Bylaws. Jerry and Helen will then review changes and Helen will update the C&B by blacklining the changes.
Rick Wright made a motion that Jeff Washburn would take Jerry LaBrosse's place as South VP. Motion passed. Jeff Washburn accepted the South VP position. Jerry is still going to keep his position as Ringer Digest and Historian.
Eric made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 11:45 am. Motion passed.
Donnelly News
By Jerry Werk

Put Donnelly Threshing Bee on your summer horseshoe schedule!
We are celebrating our 50th Annual Horseshoe Tournament and are planning some special
events - including court upgrades.  We invite you to come and be a part of our
50th celebration!  Enter by contacting Jerry Werk at 320-246-3475 orwerkkrew@runestone.net
Lower classes pitch on Saturday, August 29 / Higher classes pitch on Sunday, August 30
Our tournament is held in conjunction with an old-fashioned Threshing Bee!  
Saturday events include antique tractor pull, bean bag tournament, and queen coronation
Sunday events include parade and horse pull
Featuring gas engines, Bingo, Church food stands,
Raffling a pedal Ford tractor, small toy tractors, and cash prizes. 
Free parking on the grounds, primitive camping available. 
Jerry Werk

Greenfield concludes another BLOCKBUSTER year
By Jerry LaBrosse

It was another great season of horseshoe action at the Greenfield Sports Academy. Two leagues ran smoothly all winter, with just a few cancellations from bad weather.
The Monday Night League had Lowell Johnson as the first half winner of both the league and the session ending tournament. The second half season had Dave Borscheid as league winner, and Jerry LaBrosse with the season end tournament win.
Thursday Night Straightaway League winner was Jerry Hokkala for both the first and second half sessions. Jerry also won the first half session end tournament, but Lori York captured the second half tournament, foiling Jerry's attempt at a clean sweep of the season.
The season ended in March, and will start up again in October.

The Thursday Night crew:
Lori York, Ray Volkers, Jerry Hokkala, Joe Mueller, Mark Smith, Dick Dvorak.
Missing from photo Tom Prokop, Jerry LaBrosse
From the Stats Man - R/D - Webmaster
  By Josh Olson

Hello Everyone!
I hope everyone enjoyed the Winter season, we had a few good tournaments that happened over the winter months. 
Just wanted to give you all a update from Bertha as I write this I have been home safely with my Parents, I am still able to go to work everyday working at a Hospital, I.T has been very busy with moving people around making some changes to accommodate to everything that is going on right now in the World. 
I hope everyone is staying positive and doing what they can to pass the time, I don't know about you all but this quarantine and staying home stuff is making me look forward to pitching in the next tournament when that day comes! 
Something to keep in mind the World Tournament is still going ahead as scheduled, July 13 - 25. 
Just a reminder the Tournament Deadline has been extended to June 1st and also the requirements for qualifying has been reduced from 4 Tournaments down to 2, and if you have signed up and the Tournament does get cancelled you will get a full refund of your entry fee. So what do you have to lose? Let's make it a big World Tournament down in Monroe Louisiana , it will be a lots of fun!
I'm looking forward to seeing everyone as soon as it is safe to host a Tournament! 
P.S- For those of you that use Facebook I encourage you to check out Horseshoe Pitching Online and join in on the fun, they have over 1500 people across the US that pitch, in these tough times that we all are going through throughout the United States it is a great way to still get out and pitch horseshoes in your back yard, they have a fun and exciting format. They pitch 12 shoe games, they use a count-all scoring system and you record your games using facebook live. They have dedicated people that watch you pitch and count your score. Check it out it is awesome and something new and exciting with Leagues and Tournaments all the time. Check it Out!
That is all for now.
Until next time, see you on the Courts!

Helen Hawkinson
Helen's Horseshoe Highlights

        Virgil Anderson lives up North in Hibbing, Minnesota and is 91 years young and is still active in the horseshoe community and loves to pitch horseshoes. He grew up in Park Rapids and joined the Navy right after high school.

In Park Rapids he Virgil was first introduced to the sport of horseshoes by his Uncles John and Jim Cunningham and played in the County Fair. One of his fondest memories was playing in a tournament at the fair with his son Steven as his partner against his Uncles John and Jim. The competition was fierce but Virgil and Steven beat John and Jim for 1st Place! They were jumping up and down and cheering for their victory. There isn't much to compare with that win - well maybe taking 1st at State in Class K in 1994 or perhaps taking 4th in his Class in World when Hibbing hosted the World Horseshoe tournament in 2001.

Virgil has always pitched with Diamonds and his technique is a 1¾ turn. His home courts are in Hibbing currently and pitches from 30 feet. Virgil pitched 40 feet until he was 80 years old.

It was a pleasure talking horseshoes with a fellow competitor. Thank you Virgil for sharing your stories with me. Hope to see you on the courts soon!

Marlys Timm
Rockford Spring Meeting Set
By Marlys Timm

While out for a walk in our neighborhood I stopped to chat with a few neighbors (from a safe distance).  Jean,  a 92 year old widow, was out mailing letters at her mailbox. She has such a positive attitude, she feeds the birds and squirrels and she loves her MN Vikings always looking forward to their opening season. 
It reminded me how we love our sport of horseshoe, always looking forward to our spring meetings, league and tournament play and seeing our  horseshoe friends again. 
With the nice weather this week its time to get out in our backyards and pitch some shoes readying ourselves for 2020 league and tourney play.
Our Rockford Ringers spring meeting will be held Tuesday April 28 at 6:30 pm at Riverside park.  Now is the time to go online and get your 2020 membership using E-Shoe.
Its a very simple process. Go to www.minnesotahorseshoes.com

What a wonderful gift from our granddaughter Jaymie

Marlys Timm
Rockford Ringers

Santiago News
By Jim Aleckson

The Santiago Horseshoe Club completed it's 30th season last fall. We have been state sanctioned for 25 years and national sanctioned for the past 20 years. We purchased horseshoe shirts for all pitchers, commemorating our 30th season. We had a truck and trailer in the Palmer parade the second week of September. We had two pitchers in the pickup and five of us threw out candy from the trailer.
    The Becker Club started our 6th season at the American Legion indoor courts in the middle of October last fall, finishing the tenth of December. 
     Hopefully, the Santiago Club will start it's 31st season in May, with the hopes of picking up  some more players.
    On a personal note, I started my 60th year of pitching tournaments at Jerry LaBrosse's first class courts in Greenfield in January. My friend Ray Volkers threw a 72.5% game at me when we were battling for a first place finish in the final game. I thank God that at age 82 I am still able to compete with the best pitchers in the state of Minnesota.
      I am sad that team world has been cancelled. It would have been my 8th straight trip to the Beloit classic.
All the best from the Alecksons
Tournament Info



Publishing Schedule for the MGSHPA Ringer Digest
State Tournament Issue

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MGSHPA Executive Board                      MGSHPA Directors

Rick Wright
50586 Shorewood Circle
Rush City ,Mn 55069

PO Box 353
Bertha, MN 56437

North Vice President
Eric Dehkes
18923 North Lake Ln
Pine City, MN  55063
(320) 420-4821
South Vice President
Jeff Washburn
3479   Vivian Ave
Shoreview, MN  55126
(651) 724-7899

Ringer Digest Editor
Jerry LaBrosse
8170 Fern Lane
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
Helen Hawkinson
943  5th St SE
Forest Lake, MN 55025
(651) 276-2151

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

All submissions to the Ringer Digest Editor is subject to editing, available space, and must be received by the 10th of the month preceding the date of issue.
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