What to Expect

The World Horseshoe Tournament is unlike any other horseshoe tournament.  The scale is much larger and the pomp and circumstance connected are appropriate for this historic event.  

A few of the basics:

  • Classes are usually set up with 16 participants (Youth classes are usually 10).
  • Classes play 5 games each day for  3 days (Youth play 2 days).
  • You will be provided a "round-robin" pitching schedule each day so you know who you play and on which court.
  • Your class may have one or more "pacers."  These are volunteers to pitch in your class in the place of a no-show.
  • All games against pacers are automatic "wins."
  • In a gesture of friendship, some participants will give small tokens to their competitor such as a pin from their home state.
  • A "Judge" will always be available to help make the final call on any close shoes.
  • Scorekeeping is electronic.  You still need to call out your score like a regular tournament.  No need to pay though, as that is taken care of through the entry fees.
  • Additional helpful information is provided in the quoted article below.

World Tournament: What to Expect Your First Day

Bill Marvin, 5th Vice President of the NHPA

First time pitchers at the World Tournament sometimes feel overwhelmed and a bit intimidated on their first day of pitching.  The excitement in the air, adrenaline pumping, ready to go after all the preparation; it can take its toll on the nerves.  There are a few formalities that must be taken care of that first day.  Here is what to expect:

Pitchers should plan on arriving one and a half hours ahead of your pitching time to complete the check-in process, which involves a few steps.  Yes, there will be a line.  Yes, there will be a certain amount of waiting time.  Yes, all the questions are necessary.  Yes, you will eventually make it to the courts and pitch.

You will be asked to show your 2017 NHPA membership card.  Why?  Charters submit membership reports at different times, some monthly, some quarterly, some semi-annually and some once a year.  The only way to ensure that everyone has paid their dues is to ask to see their card.  If you forget to bring it, you will be required to pay a $20 deposit until your 2017 membership can be verified by you Charter Secretary.

Questions two and three: what brand of shoe do you pitch and what is your pitching style?  Why?  Each year members are interested in what shoes are popular and how they are being pitched.  This data is sent to Mel Yockstick, NHPA statistical guru, and he puts it on the web page and in the forum.  Just interesting information, nothing else. “Inquiring minds want to know.”

Your shoes will then be weighed and checked to make sure they are within NHPA specifications.  Each year there are a few that are either warped, have been illegally modified or will not fit in the jig for one reason or the other, and a few are over the weight specification.  If shoes cannot be straightened or ground to fit the jig, they are held until after the competition is completed.  This is a very good reason to bring two pair; if your favorites don’t pass, you will need a backup pair. If you have a pick up stick, it will be checked.  Sticks cannot be longer than 36” in length and the hook cannot extend 2” from the center of the main shaft. 

After these things have been completed, your shirt will be checked to make sure you have your name and state on the back.  Make sure the letters are professionally lettered, at least 1” in size.  No sleeveless shirts, no open toed shoes, no cut-offs are allowed.   You will receive your round robin card for the first day.  So now you are ready to pitch, right?  Well, not quite.

Each class will have their picture taken...  These pictures make an excellent souvenir.  There will also be a few important announcements so PAY ATTENTION! After this, you will be dismissed to begin your competition.  DO NOT TAKE THE COURTS TO BEGIN PRACTICE UNTIL YOU ARE DIRECTED TO DO SO.  There will be plenty of time to warm up so don’t panic.  Shift Directors will tell you when to start your games, so wait until that announcement is made.

On days two and three, be at the arena 30 minutes ahead of time to pick up your round robin card for the day.  No other check-in is needed.  Again, do not take the courts to begin practice until you are directed to do so.  If for some reason you cannot pitch the second or third day, please notify the NHPA office as far in advance as possible so a Pacer can be put in your place.

Good luck and lots of ringers to everyone...

- Newsline July-August 2016 [dates updated]