The first Volunteer State Open Horseshoe Tournament will be held Friday -Sunday, June 2-4 at Crossville Centennial Park.

As of May 16, there are 293 entries including 11 juniors (18 years old or younger) from at least 25 states and two Canadian provinces, according to Bob Hassan. Entries closed on Saturday, May 20.

Ohio leads with 52 entries, followed by Tennessee (49), Virginia (24), Illinois (16), Pennsylvania (14), New York (14), Alabama (13), North Carolina (13), West Virginia (11), Florida (11), Missouri (10), Ontario (4) and Quebec (3).

Scheduled pitching times are 2 p.m. on June 3 and 11 a.m. on June 4, with 11 people who have won world championships.

"World championships are won at the National Horseshoe Pitchers' Association's (NHPA) annual tournament which lasts two weeks. Everyone pitches at least three days and everyone has the opportunity to win the title," added Hassan

There are 11 people who have 20 men's world titles, 14 women's titles and three elder's titles

The Men's Championship class has 12 pitchers, including nine of the top 10 pitchers in the world.

The Men's Class A also has 12 pitchers and will pitch at 10 a.m. on Saturday and 7 a.m. Sunday.

This class includes the two top Canadian pitchers, Andre LeClerc from Quebec (67.63 percent ringers) and Tom Gallino from Ontario (66.81 percent).

The 30-foot Championship Class combines men's, elders and women.

This class also has 12 pitchers including seven of the top 12 women pitchers and four of the top 12 elder pitchers.

In addition to these two championship classes, there are 33 other classes of eight pitchers each who will pitch a seven-game round robin. Most of these classes have pitchers with NATSTAT ringer averages within one to three percent.

The prize fund is more than $70,000. The individual first place prizes are the most in NHPA history. In addition to the annual World Tournament, there are six to eight other major national tournaments which many of these pitchers attend.

The lower classes will be paying similar to what champions receive at most of the other national tournaments such as The Dogwood (Statesville, NC in April), Danville, IL Open (Danville, IL in July), The Eastern Regional (Erie, PA) and the SummerFun (Newberry, SC in August).

In terms of the number of participants, this tournament will be one of the largest.

Last year's world tournament in Bakersfield, CA had 795 pitchers.

In September 2005, the next largest tournament of 2005 was 297 at the New England Championship at Keene, NH.

This year's Dogwood had 190 pitchers.

Last year's Ringer Classic in Greenville, OH had 220 entrants.

For more information go to the Crossville Horseshoe Club's website percent The NHPA's Web site which includes the NATSTAT data is

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