June 13, 2015
CASH PRIZES !! SEPARATE CLASSES FOR 40 FOOT AND 30 FOOT PITCHERS!! These two things are the cure-all for getting greater participation at horseshoe tournaments.
If you?ve attended any of the membership meetings over the past few years, you would have heard this sentiment repeated pretty often. Some of our fellow horseshoe pitchers have been very vocal about wanting CASH awards and separate classes for full-and-short distance pitchers. The Stuarts Draft club members were in those meetings and listened to all of it.
AND decided to test the waters. The X-Trials tournament is named this way because it has always been an event we used as a ?trial? for various formats of pitching. So this year, we decided to do singles/cash/separate groups and see what impact it had.
Pitchers with a free weekend did come over to play.. We welcomed Shannon Foster and sister Sonya (recently in VA relocated from TN), and Hearl Kelly ? recooperating from back problems. Mark Bunch from Madison Heights came over and Richard Horvath from Roanoke.
In the ?full distance? class, entry averages went from 64% to 17%. In the ?short distance? class, entry averages went from 61% to 20%. With only 6 pitchers in one class and 7 pitchers in the other, both classes ran handicapped ? not enough turnout to do it any other way. Even our best pitchers understood the necessity. The lower average pitchers thanked us for any help they could get facing ?the big guys?.
In the short distance class, top seed George Maitland didn?t mind giving the lowest pitcher 29 points. After all, his entry avg was 61%, and the lowest person entered with 20%....29 points? That?s only a couple ?a ringers.... His hardest game was against Carrie Turner in round 4 ? She was having a really great day, and gave him a fit !! George finally won the game 44/38, but not without a bit of struggle. He took 1st place in the class with 6-0. Carrie 2nd with 5-1 (her only loss was that game against George).
In the full distance class, it was almost an exact sentiment. Top seed Shannon Foster had no problem with giving 34 points to the lowest guy. They faced off in the first round, just getting warm, and what a surprise!! Terry Sparks almost took the game ? it was really tight right to the end, when Shannon popped TWO ringers which Terry couldn?t cover ? game ended 47/42 Shannon.
As the games went on, Shannon was worried about seed #2 ? Hearl Kelly who he would pitch last (in round 5). In the meantime, he actually faced his most aggressive, most warmed up, most on-fire opponent in round 4! Jeremi Skillman was having a really good day, getting better and better each game. When he faced Shannon, he LOVED it. As he later said ?without the low turnout, and the handicapped class, I probably will never again be able to play against a top-notch pitcher like Shannon?. Well, Jeremi gave it his all ? Congrats!! He tied the score 42/42 !!
By then, Shannon was really on fire himself. Facing off
against the #2 seed Hearl, it was ?show no mercy?. The
onslaught ensued. Hearl tried his best, but Shannon was on
the peg the whole time, ending the game 39/15 at shoe 40,
with a 67.5% !!
Great pitching all!! Look forward to seeing you again soon. Pat