Bayou Horse Shoe Pitchers Association sending 5 to worlds

The Bayou Horseshoe Pitchers Association will be sending five competitors to the 2012 World Horseshoe Pitching Championships in Knoxville, Tenn.

Locals attending the event, scheduled July 30-Aug. 11, include Al Dodson, Linda Dodson, Tim Hayles, Karl Vaughn and Tim Gilmore.

Louisiana ranks 15th (tied with North Carolina and New York) in attendance with 28 participants.

The Louisiana crew is among more than 1,200 entrants who will be competing on 46 sanctioned, temporary horseshoe courts.

This two-week event is held once each summer to crown a World Champion horseshoe pitcher in each of eight divisions — Open Men, Open Women, Senior Men, Senior Women, Elder (short-distance) Men, Junior Boys, Junior Girls and Junior Cadets (9-years-old and under).

Brian Simmons, current men’s world champion, will be defending his title against 16-time world champion Alan Francis of Defiance, Ohio, who is listed in the 2011 edition of the “Guinness Book of World Records” for most world championships in horseshoe pitching.

Simmons, seeking his fourth title, boasts an entry average of 85.35 percent ringers, while Francis comes in with 89.01 percent. Also in contention are Michigan’s Tom Williams, entering with 81.22 percent, and Dan Watson from Alabama, who boasts 79.5 percent.

The top five women vying for their World title boast entry averages above 75 percent. They include defending champion Joan Elmore, Tennessee, who has won the title five times and holds an impressive 87.27 percent average; second-ranked Sue Snyder, Indiana, with seven championships and 81.11 percent; Marlene Ray, Tennessee, with 80.15 percent; Vermont’s Debra Brown with 77.27 percent and Ohio’s Brenda Tawney with 77.08 percent.

This year’s Elder division also has a high-percentage lineup with the top five boasting averages exceeding 78 percent. They are defending champion Russ Phillips, Washington, who is entering with an 87.32 ringer percentage; two-time Elders champ Herschel Walters, Indiana; Bobby Fields, Tennessee; Ralph Adrian, Ohio; and Ed Arionus, Texas, who is looking to add to his four Elders championships.

In the younger divisions, 67 boys and girls will be competing for spots in their own championship finals. Nine boys and girls, age 9 and below, are vying for the top Cadet honors.

The youngest pitcher entered is 7-year-old Katelin Lamoth from Iowa.

Conversely, Witchita, Kan., pitcher Tom Small, 93, is the oldest.

Competition will begin by 7 a.m. each day through the first week, starting July 30 with a break for NHPA convention and Hall of Fame banquet on Aug. 5, then will resume at 7 a.m. Aug. 6. Championship finals for Men, Women and Elder divisions will be the final three days — Aug. 9-11.

Junior and Cadet Champions will be determined Aug 4, with competition beginning at 7 p.m. Titles and scholarships will be awarded in Junior Boys, Junior Girls and Cadet Divisions.

Admission to the championships is free.

To follow the event or to learn more about the NHPA, visit or contact NHPA 2nd Vice President Tina Hawkins.

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