Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Area Sports

June 28, 2012

2012 World Horseshoe Pitching Championships begin July 30

CROSSVILLE — The National Horseshoe Pitchers Association is pleased to announce the 2012 World Horseshoe Pitching Championships to be held in Knoxville July 30-Aug. 11. 

More than 1,200 entrants will be competing on 46 sanctioned, temporary horseshoe courts, which will be set up in the Knoxville Convention Center for the two-week event. 

This two-week event is held once each summer to crown a World Champion horseshoe pitcher in each of eight divisions – Open Men, Open Women, Senior Men, Senior Women, Elder (short-distance) Men, Junior Boys, Junior Girls and Junior Cadets (nine-years old and under). 

Brian Simmons, current men’s world champion, will be defending his title against 16-time world champion, Alan Francis of Defiance, OH, who is listed in the 2011 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records for most world championships in horseshoe pitching. 

Simmons, who will be seeking his fourth title, boasts an entry average of 85.35 percent ringers, while Francis comes in with 89.01 percent. Also in contention are Michigan’s Tom Williams entering with 81.22 percent and Dan Watson from Alabama who boasts 79.50 percent.
The top five women vying for their World title boast entry averages over 75 percent. They include defending champion Tennessee's Joan Elmore, who has won the title five times and holds an impressive 87.27 percent average; second ranked Indiana's Sue Snyder with seven championhips and 81.11 percent; Tennessee's Marlene Ray, with 80.15 percent; Vermont’s Debra Brown with 77.27 percent and Ohio’s Brenda Tawney with 77.08 percent. 

This year’s Elder division also has a high-percentage lineup with the top five boasting averages exceeding 78 percent. They are defending champion, Russ Phillips, WA, who is entering with a 87.32 ringer percentage; two-time Elders champ, Indiana's Herschel Walters, Tennessee's Bobby Fields, Ohio's Ralph Adrian and Texas' Ed Arionus, who is looking to add to his four Elders championships. 

In the younger divisions, 67 boys and girls will be competing for spots in their own championship finals. Nine boys and girls age nine and below are vying for the top Cadet honors. 

The NHPA World Tournament has something for everyone, as evidenced by the age range represented in this year’s event.  The youngest pitcher entered is seven-year-old Katelin Lamoth from Iowa. On the other side of the spectrum is Wichita, KS, pitcher Tom Small who has marked up 93 birthdays. 

Competition will begin by 7 a.m. each day through the first week, starting July 30, with a break for NHPA convention and Hall of Fame banquet on Sunday, then will resume at 7 a.m. Monday, August 6. Championship finals for Men, Women and Elder divisions will be the final three days – Aug. 9, 10 and 11. 

Junior and Cadet Champions will be determined Saturday, Aug. 4 with competition beginning at 7 p.m. Titles and scholarships will be awarded in Junior Boys, Junior Girls and Cadet Divisions. 

Admission is free and spectators are encouraged for all levels of competition. Concessions and souvenirs will be available.
To follow the event online or to learn more about the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association, visit www.horseshoepitching.com or contact NHPA second vice president Tina Hawkins.

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