Constitution Park in Lovell will be alive with the “plink” of horseshoes this weekend when the Lovell Horseshoe Pitchers Club hosts the Wyoming State Horseshoe Pitchers Tournament.
Members of the local club, assisted by the Town of Lovell, have been working hard to prepare the Lovell courts for the state tournament, local pitcher Rick Parmer said.
The event will be held Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 25-26, starting at 8 a.m. each day at Constitution Park.
In order to qualify for the state tournament, a horseshoe pitcher must be a member of the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association and, thus, by default a member of the state organization, and a participant must have pitched in at least one sanctioned tournament in Wyoming, Parmer said.
About 50 pitchers have signed up for the tournament, he said, and will participate in various classes – A, B, C, D, etc. — within specific divisions. Elders (age 70 and up) throw from 30 feet, as well as junior boys and girls (18 and under), Parmer said. Also pitching in the Elders Division are those with a medical exemption.
Open Men pitch from 40 feet, Open Women from 30 feet. Classes within each division are based on ringer percentage over the years, and Parmer said the state tournament will feature nine classes among the various divisions.
Ringers are 3 points, and any shoe coming to rest within six inches of the stake is 1 point, Parmer said, adding that “leaners” do not count in the state competition.
“We throw cancellation horseshoes,” Parmer said. “If you and I throw a ringer, they cancel each other out. And all shoes have to hit inside the pit first. The championship class is a 40-point game.”
Parmer said the Lovell club applied for the state tournament through the state association and was awarded the event after a vote of the membership. He said the next state meeting will be held in Lovell during the tournament following a banquet that begins at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Brandin’ Iron.
Parmer said he would like to express a “big thank you” to the Town of Lovell and, specifically, Parks Director Gary Emmett for assistance in preparing the park and the courts for the tournament.
“They’ve been a tremendous help in terms of labor, materials and equipment to get the courts ready,” Parmer said. “The chamber of commerce has also helped us with welcome bags containing brochures and flyers.
“Our responsibility (as the local club) is the banquet and meeting facility and the physical condition of the pits. Wednesday, we dug up 12 pits and re-welded stakes, and on Friday we put sand in the pits that were low and tilled up and dug up the pits so they’ll be ready to throw on. We’re down to painting the backboards.”
Parmer said there are 12 courts in the Lovell facility.
Some of the top pitchers expected to attend are Joyce Desmond of Worland, the top-ranked woman in the state (46.88 ringer percentage), 2011 state champion Jerry Geer of Gillette (41.46 percent) and 2011 Elders champion Phil Plotke of Gillette (61.14 percent).
Local pitchers include Parmer, Keith Berry, Art Camarena, Butch Fink, Greg Martin, George Preis and Pat Bacus.
By David Peck