In Search Of…Horseshoe Pitching

LA CROSSE, Wis. – It’s the sound of a common pastime. “I started pitching horse shoes when I was a young kid.” “I think I started when I was maybe 12-years-old.” “I got started back when I was 14-years-old. My grandpa played, my dad played and they passed that trait down to me.”

What was once just a backyard barbeque battle can now be found in league and tournament play all over the community. The roster here is full of people from all walks of life. Seniors to thirty somethings. World champions…and otherwise. “You don’t have to be good. You can be a beginner. You don’t have to be an expert. That’s the fun of it.”

The game itself is pretty simple. “You start out with the pins being 40 feet apart. Each person throws two shoes.” If you pitch your shoe around the stake, it’s a ringer worth 3 points…unless your opponent also gets a ringer, then they cancel each other out. And if you miss the ringer but get within 6 inches, you get a point. “Very often you hear the saying ‘ close only counts in horseshoes.’ Close doesn’t count in horseshoes much. If you can’t do better that get close, you aren’t going to do well.”

“It’s one of those games where when you think you’ve got it figured out…there’s a good way to remind you that you don’t.” “It’s fun.” “Anybody can play.” “It’s inexpensive. ” “It’s competitive.” “The commendatory.” “Just being with the people. It’s a good time.” “I encourage anyone to come out and give it a shot.”

There are leagues just wrapping up in La Crosse, Holmen and Galesville. But if you are interested in pitching horse shoes, you still have an opportunity at Kornfest this weekend. The Phil Wall Classic HorseShoe Tournament kicks off at 11:00 on Saturday with it’s singles competition. The doubles competition is Sunday at 11:00. Registration starts at 10:30.

In next weeks in search of…we are spotlighting the modern version of horseshoe pitching that can be found at tailgating parties all over the country.