Ringer Digest
2019 Special State Tournament Issue
A Charter of the NHPA
Official Publication of the Minnesota Gopher State Horseshoe Pitchers' Association

  Men's Champion
 Eric Dehkes

  Women's Champion
        Janet Larson

     Elder's Champion
Bill Danielson

    Junior Champion
   Marshall Swenson

    Cadet Champion
     Justice Martin

                                    2019 MGSHPA Awards

            Henry Greenwaldt 
    Inducted into the MGSHPA
                  Hall of Fame

   Ann Hagman
President's  Award

       Patti Oakes & Joe Mueller
 Tournament Attendance Award

            Edi Holland
  Sportsmanship Award
                              Al Blumer

Junior Pitcher Of the Year
Justice Martin

Frank Stinson Award
Patti Oakes

Appreciation Awards
      Hibbing Horseshoe Club
 Gordy Schmidt
 Marlys Timm
 Jerry LaBrosse

Pitcher of the Year Winners
           Patti Oakes, Bob Knudtson, Brian Wipper, Joe Mueller, Justin Martin, Lori York, Al Woida, Brad Heth, Bill Danielson, Jeff Thompson


Rookie of the Year
 Tim Schmalz

Men's State Championship Recap         
By Josh Olson

It was another fun, tough and exciting State Tournament up in Hibbing his year. The schedule was posted with the top 4 who would get seeded going into Labor Day Monday to pitch in the Championship class. Defending Champion Mark Smith who always brings his "A" Game, Mark is coming off a Hall of Fame induction year as well as the 2018 Men's State Champion. Next one that was seeded, me (Josh Olson). I had a great year leading up to State this year, with winning the RJ Challenge in Forest Lake, to pitching in Men's A-1 Class at the World Tournament in Wichita Falls, TX and qualifying to make the Championship Class as well. Third competitor seeded is the returning Dale Lipovsky, Dale came up to Hibbing with a Goal in mind and that was to add another Title onto his illustrious pitching Career, Dale made his presence known. The 4th seed was also a returning player, Nathan Dehkes. Nathan was back to pitching tournaments and came do some damage in Hibbing this year. That was the 4 seeded for this year's State Championship, we then got to see the final 4 that would complete the class pitch on Sunday, Brian Wipper, Joe Mueller, Jerry Werk and Eric Dehkes would be the 8th through 5th Seeds coming into the Championship class. Brian and Joe would actually tie in Ringer percentage and would come down to a tie breaker to determine the 7th and 8th seed spots, it would come to how they did Head to Head in class play, Mueller would defeat Wipper to take the 7th Seed with Brian taking the 8th spot. Jerry Werk and Eric Dehkes would end up both tying for 1st place in Class B, Eric would end up winning the class by Ringer Percentage and Jerry would be seeded 6th, and Eric would get the 5th seed.

Championship class was set, competition would begin with the high seeds competing against the low seeds, game 1 would see brother vs. brother, Nathan and Eric Dehkes would battle right off the bat, and let me tell you, I bet they didn't think they would be playing each other at the end of the day!
I would defeat Joe Mueller 44-0 in under 30 shoes. Eric would also defeat his brother Nathan making the 5th seed over the 4th seed right off the bat as well.

Game 2 we would see Josh Olson vs Eric Dehkes, with Olson overcoming Dehkes early in the day. Game 3 we would see Eric get revenge and defeat Dale Lipovsky leaving only 2 people with a 3-0 record after game 3, Mark Smith and Josh Olson. Game 4 would see Eric continue his success and he would get past and give Mark Smith his first official loss of the tournament. The standings would show one person with 4 wins and 0 losses, Josh Olson, leaving Nathan Dehkes, Dale Lipovsky, Mark Smith and Eric Dehkes all with 3 wins and 1 loss going into game #5. I would then join the 1 loss club after a much waited rematch that I personally was waiting for since 2015 after I won my first State Title, to give a little background on that situation, Dale was ill in 2015 and didn't pitch in the State Tournament and I ended up winning my first Title in the Men's Division, so in a way this was my rematch at the State Tournament with the 30+ time State and 3 time World Champion Dale Lipovsky..(Lefty vs Lefty Matchup). Dale would start off throwing 9 out of the first 10 ringers and there was no turning back. Dale would win 41-3. We would also see Mark Smith and Nathan Dehkes go 64 shoes in a close battle with Nathan edging Mark 40-38.
Game #6 would have another top 4 face off, Mark Smith would go on to defeat Dale Lipovsky in one of their many battles from over the years. Nathan and I (Josh) would have a battle that would go 68 shoes and we would see Nathan getting the "W" over myself 40-29 in a great game.
Going into the final game we would see the brothers, Nathan and Eric both with 5 Wins and 1 Loss, Mark, Josh and Dale would have 2 losses making for a potential ending that many would/could possibly never forget if things would have turned out differently, Mark would face Josh, and Josh would Win, Dale would face Nathan and Nathan would defeat Dale to finish with 6 Wins and 1 loss, and Eric would also finish his 7th game with a "W" making him 6 Wins and 1 Loss. If I haven't lost everyone, that would make the Dehkes Brothers both Tied for 1st place......and you know what that means, a play off needs to happen to determine a State Champion. That Play Off game was so enjoyable to watch, Eric and Nathan battle back and forth changing the lead multiple times throughout the course of the game. In the End, Eric would defeat his brother Nathan just like he did 7 games ago when they both faced off to start the Tournament, no body I bet saw this coming, I can tell you I didn't see it coming, but man was it a great game to watch. I would like to Congratulate Nathan for his 2nd Place finish and would like to congratulate Eric on his first State Title.

Some fun facts, might be something for the history book, Eric vs. Nathan aka (brother vs. brother) for the Men's State Title, might be one if not the first time this has ever happened before, and Eric also won Class B and Class A title in the same weekend!
Thank you to the Hibbing Horseshoe Club and the city of Hibbing for hosting us, I am already looking forward to coming back next year.

  Eric Dehkes, Mark Smith, Dale Lipovsky, Nathan Dehkes, Jerry Werk, Josh Olson, Brian Wipper, Joe Mueller

2019 Elder's Championship
By Janet Larson
The Elder's are truly Awesome!
There is so much talent and experience in this class, I am in awe! Jim Aleckson, the DC, has been pitching forever, like most of these guys. He also has the most experience pitching in the Elder's Championship. This will be his 10th year. There are two rookies in the class this year, not rookies to the sport, but rookies to the Elder division, Jerry Hokkala and Richard Bussey are the newest arrivals. Toby Neuenschwander and Dick Dvorak were rookies last year and Jeff Washburn has been here twice previously. For Ray Volkers and Bill Danielson, this is their 6th appearance.
If you want to pitch in this class, you will need to have an average of at least 50%, 60% to be truly competitive. While pitching in Class B, Toby and Dick each accomplished the 60% goal to claim the first two move up positions. Toby had three 72.5% games, plus two games in the 60's, while Dick had two games at 72.5% and two more in the 60's. Richard and Jeff averaged 52.14% and 50.36% respectively in Class B to claim the last two spots.
Richard nearly gave each of the four seeded guys a loss in the first four rounds. He upset the apple cart right away in the first round throwing his best game of the day to succeed in taking down #2 seeded Jerry. He would dole out another upset win in round #3 against Jim, who was having an off game. In both rounds two and four against Ray and Bill, his final score would be 38/41, just one ringer short of the win. In round four, while pitching his best game, it was Jeff who caught Jerry on an off game to claim an upset win. There is little forgiveness for a bad game in this class.
Ray would lose to Jim in round five, leaving Bill as the only one without a loss at this point. Jim and Ray would each suffer another loss in round six, guaranteeing Bill the championship, but second place was still up for grabs. Ray and Jim each have 2 losses at this point, while Jerry has three. Bill would play Ray and remain undefeated after seven rounds. Jerry was able to throw his best game of the day against Jim, going 62 shoes and pitching 70.97% against Jim's 61.29%, for the win. This created a three way tie for second, which was awarded to Jim who averaged 58.90%, and Jerry would claim third at 56.21%.
For Bill, he may have gone undefeated, but the others had made him work for it. He pitched more shoes than anyone else, 390 to be exact. His longest game went 64 shoes and he only had one game under 50 shoes. Bill averaged 64.36% with his best game at 72.41% and 3 games above 69%. Seven of the eight pitchers in this group averaged over 50%. Like I said at the beginning, I am in awe of the talent these elders possess. This is second time Bill has won the Championship, his first win came in 2015, with Sig as runner-up. Congratulations on a tremendous State Tournament!
P.S. Richard shared something with me after the tournament that I would like to share with all of you. "While playing on Monday I was overcome with emotion for a short time when I realized what an honor it is to make it into the class A finals. Then I glanced to my left and my daughter Tina was just two courts away in the women's class A finals. It all came back to me of when she first started playing as a little girl and how she always tried so hard get her first ringer and never gave up. And now here we are, both of us in the class A finals. I was so proud of her that I had to stop playing for a short time. I will never forget it." Richard Bussey

Toby Neuenschwander, Richard Bussey, Ray Volkers, Jim Aleckson, Jeff Washburn, Bill Danielson, Dick Dvorak, Jerry Hokkala

   Playing in the Women's Championship Round
by Janet Larson
Below you will read a recap of the MN Women's State Championship Tournament from my point of view, the DC, as it unfolds. I hope you get a sense of the capability of this class, and how each of us arrived in it.
We are all here to compete at the top level in the state of MN, the Women's State Championship round, and I have the task of defending my title. I know that I have a target on my back, my reign may end. I know that everyone I will face has the potential to beat me, so I have put in my practice time, now it's time for the results.
My first round is against Michelle Foard, I am sure that she and the others are nervous, but I am nervous also, I have no history with Michelle. I hear Michelle has pitched for years, mostly in sand and against men. This is her first year in the NHPA. I watched her pitch in Women's B yesterday. She threw a 52.5% her first game! She finished with a 38.93%, earning the #4 move-up spot. She will not beat me this year, but she will go on to beat Christy Schilling in a 60 shoe game next round, and she will finish with 3 wins and 40.17%. She deserves to be here.
In the second round I face Tina Bussey, she has the hometown advantage. She also has years of experience having pitched in her first State Tournament here in Hibbing in 1993, and this is her 3rd time in the championship round. In Women's B yesterday Tina threw 60% her second game and then had two more 50% games, for an average of 44.29%. Today she lost a tough, 58 shoe game, in round one with Christy. It will prove to be the high ringer percent game for each of them today. Tina's fan club is evident when we get a couple of "4 deads". This will be the longest game of the day, 68 shoes. Tina is pitching well. Unfortunately she ends up having a few shoes come off the stake. Her second best game of the day will also end in a loss, but the joy and excitement of being here, with her dad on the adjacent courts pitching for his first time in the Elder's Championship, will not be diminished.
On to the 3rd round where I face Patti Oakes, who earned a top 10 Pitcher of the Year award last night at the banquet and was presented with the Frank Stinson award. Patti is very comfortable on the courts and her game has been steadily improving. She beat me at Dakota Magic in March with a 52% game and she had two 50% games in Women's B yesterday. This is Patti's first time in the Women's Championship and although she has a good game against me, it will not be enough this year.
In round four I face Melisa Wimmer. For her it is a family affair, her brothers are battling it out in the Men's Championship class. Melisa has only had one other appearance in the Women's Championship class, yet she presents with all the calm and poise of a veteran. Yesterday, in Women's B, Melissa started out with a 62.5% game and then added four more games of 50% or better. Her 1st place finish in that class came with a 49.64% ringer average. Today will not be her day, but I know we will meet on the courts again.
I have not checked the leaderboards yet this tournament and decide to take a look now. With Christy's loss in round two and the fact that Tina tossed Helen a loss in round three, Lori York and I are currently in the lead at 4-0. I know this next game with her will be pivotal. This is Lori's second year in the Championships. I have had several very good, very close games with her this past year. She is a member of the elite Greenfield Club. She won her Class at the World Tournament this year with an average of 57.50%. She was awarded a Pitcher of the Year plaque last night. She just pitched a 70% game against Tina Bussey in the last round. I need to find my zone which has been a little elusive today. I manage to have my best game of the day, when I need it most. I leave the game fully aware that Lori is very capable of beating me. It is only a matter of time.
Christy Schilling comes to this tournament with the most experience. She grew up pitching with the greatest female pitchers in MN. She pitched in the same league as Bev Nathe, Phyllis Negaard, Rose Leyk, Edi Holland and her mother, Lu Cave. She will pitch the most shoes today in our class, with the shortest of her first four games being 58 shoes. The other pitchers have worn her down, but I know she still has it in her, just not today.
It is the last game. Helen Hawkinson still has the potential to create a playoff game between Lori and myself. She has entered this tournament with the highest average, 59%. It is her fourth year in the Championships. Helen recently finished with 56.33% at the World Tournament, but she has run out of steam for today. In the past three years she finished 6th, 5th, and 4th. This year she will continue her rise to the top with a 3rd place finish.
My reign will continue for one more year and we all have one more year of experience, one more year of history. We each earned the privilege to pitch in the Women's Championship round and enjoyed the experience. We would like to thank the Hibbing Horseshoe Club for hosting the tournament. They have done an excellent job! The Memorial Building is truly world class, and the clay could not have been better.

Lori York, Melisa Wimmer, Helen Hawkinson, Janet Larson, Tina Bussey, Michelle Foard, Patti Oakes, Christy Schilling

                                 2019 Juniors/Cadet Recap
                                                                         by April Lynch: Junior Director
2019 continues to show how important young people are not only to the NHPA, but specifically to the MGSHPA.  As for the State tournament this year, we had 1 Cadet class with 4 Cadets, and 2 junior classes with 8 juniors. The Cadet A class state champion this year is Justice Martin with a record of 6 and 0 averaging 33.75%. The Junior A class champion this year was Marshall Swenson with a record of 5.5 and 0.5 averaging 26.67%. Amazingly this was Marshall 's first year playing in the Junior class!  The B class junior champion this year was Thomas Kremer with a record of 6 an 0 averaging 12.50%. Watching the Cadets and Juniors play is the highlight of the tournament for me like it most likely is for many others. They all were amazing competitors and showed explementary sportsmanship throughout the tournament!! Congrats to all!
 This year's junior party started out with the kids participating in a cool project that we did last year with their horseshoes called "Hydro Paint Dipping" using spray paint.  Again this activity was enjoyed by all and the shoes turned out again so unique with many different designs and colors. After the paint dipping we headed over to the Hull Rust Mine View for a gorgeous look at the mine. The kids enjoyed this view along with the adults that came with.  We ended the night with all they could eat pizza at the Pizza Ranch.  A huge thank you goes out to Mike Littell, Cody Olson & Hank Lynch for driving and chaperoning the pizza party.
I really enjoyed hanging out with these kids and getting to know them again this year. As you know they are the future of this sport and I know they all are so grateful for the support you offer them. Cheering them on, score keeping for them, or just being there to watch. I remember very clearly as a junior pitcher all the adults around this sport that were always right there cheering us on. I know sometimes it's not an activity that is at the top of most kids' list in the summer, but if we continue to put time and effort into their experience when they come to any of our tournaments, it will help them build friendships like we all have that will keep them coming back for years to come! Let's keep building this Horseshoe Family together!

Horseshoe Painting Fun


                                                   Junior A
         Trenton Thissen, Tyler Condon, Marshal Swenson, Kyle Holland

                                                     Cadet A
          Olivia Betterman, Tristan Dehkes, Justice Martin, Linnea Lynch

                                                        Junior B
              Kevin Hagman, Brenna Hagman, Thomas Kremer, Grace Wimmer


Juniors having fun and learning at the Hull Rust Mine-view

  Congratulations to all Class Winners  


                          Women's A
  Lori York, Janet Larson, Helen Hawkinson

                           Women's B
   Patti Oakes, Melisa Wimmer, Colleen Szabo

                          Women's C
 Sue Pierce, Linda Froehlich, Kelli Pierce


A Mens "move up" won the state title

Eric Dehkes is the first person in recent history to win the state title with a flip shoe, and his brother Nathan was runner up with the same flip shoe.

                               Elder's A
Jerry Hokala, Bill Danielson, Jim Aleckson

                           Elder's B
   Richard Bussey, Toby Neuenschwander, Dick Dvorak

                             Elder's C
Arnie Johnson, Bob Knudtson, Stan Barney

                       Elder's D
       Richard Hunstad, Phillip Rodenberg, Bill Creighton

                            Elder's E
 Dean Hedlund, Mike LIttell, Denny Keogh

                           Elder's F
             Bill Nelson, Erwin Tischer, Richard David

                           Men's A
   Josh Olson, Eric Dehkes, Nathan Dehkes

                            Men's B
  Jerry Werk, Eric Dehkes, Brian Wipper

                                 Men's C
         Steve Miller, Andy Olson, Ron Monson

                             Men's D
                 Randy Werk, Tim Bayerl, Rick Wright
  Men's E
         Art Longen - 1st
         Leslie Marquardt - 2nd
          Ken Eberspacher - 3rd

   sorry photo not available
Men's F 
Rob Hagman - 1st
 Tom Thissen - 2nd
  Henry Brown - 3rd

 sorry photo not available

                                             Men's G
                  Dylan Unger, Tim Schmalz, Michael Timm

                     Rick and Jerry at work

Lori York in front of Bob Dylans childhood home

Bill Danielson, Eric Dehkes, Janet Larson

                         3 champs !!!!


Brothers Eric and Nathan Dehkes were tied for first and had  a dramatic playoff game. 


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
Jerry LaBrosse
8170 Fern Lane
Greenfield, MN 55357

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
Gordy Schmidt
5631 187th St. W
Farmington, MN 55024

Promotion/News Media Director
position currently open
contact Rick Wright if interested

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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