100 Years of Horseshoes in Springfield, Illinois

20 Oct 1994: General view of an athlete participating in the horseshoes event during the Senior Games in St. George, Utah.
Mack DreyfussContributor IApril 3, 2009

The National Horseshoe Pitchers Association of America (NHPA) is preparing its first centennial celebration. The 100th Horseshoe Pitching World Championship is scheduled for July 27-August 8 in Springfield, Illinois.


According to the NHPA, over 15 million Americans pitch horseshoes. The World Championship is divided into a number of divisions including Junior Boys, Junior Girls, Mens, Womens, Elder, Senior Mens, and Senior Womens. Truly no age group is restricted in this multi-generational backyard game.


Alan Francis is the current Mens World Champ. He has held the title of World Champ since 2003 and is from Defiance, Ohio. The current Womens World Champ is Sue Snyder from Madisonville, Kentucky. In the last five years, the title has been frequently traded between Snyder and Joan Elmore from Mt. Juliet, Tennessee.


There is also a horseshoe pitching Hall of Fame. It is divided into three categories: Player, Organizer, and Player-Organizer. Hall of Fame players have “brought prestige to the art of horseshoe pitching through distinguished outstanding performances in World Tournament Championship Play.”


A century of statistics are available on the NHPA website (http://www.horseshoepitching.com/).


The NHPA alleges that the sport dates back to the Roman Empire, when soldiers pitched the discarded horseshoes of their chariot horses. If that is the case, then this age-old game might realistically be called timeless.


Although, your average traveler no longer uses a steed to get from Point A to Point B, they might enjoy the new horseshoe pitching game available for the iphone. Just make sure you have a signal when you get to Springfield this summer.

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