BHPA throwers headed to World Championships

By: Staff Reports
The 2011 World Horseshoe Pitching Championships will be held July 18-30 in Monroe/West Monroe.

Several members of the local Bayou Horseshoe Pitchers Association have qualified.

Al Dodson, Linda Dodson, Tim Gilmore, Tim Hayles, Dale Pearce, Milton Pearce and Tracy Verret will make the trip to Monroe with a World Championship within reach.

The event will be run with electronic scoring systems on all courts. Forty-six portable horseshoe courts will be set up in the Monroe Civic Center Arena for the two-week event.

This event is held 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).

Entrants hail from 45 states, two Canadian provinces and five entrants from South Africa.

Current men’s 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 (15), now has 16 titles under his belt, including the last eight in a row, and once again will be attempting to break his own record for most World Championships. Francis currently holds an 89.74 percent overall average.

Number-two ranked Brian Simmons, who forced playoffs with Francis the past two years, will be back for another shot at the championship, along with PBA great Walter Ray Williams Jr.

Simmons has two World Championships to his name, while Walter Ray holds six men’s titles and has finished as high as second in the world pitching with his off hand. Third-ranked Dan Watson of Alabama rounds out the top four in the men’s division with a 74.13 entry average.

The top six women vying for their world title boast entry averages over 78 percent. They include defending champion, Joan Elmore of Tennessee, who has won the title four times and holds an 82.31 percent average; second-ranked Sue Snyder of Kentucky with seven championships and 81.78 percent; Marlene Ray of Tennessee with 79.56 percent and Maxine Griffith of Tennessee with 78.07 percent; Vermont’s Debra Brown with 78.64 percent; and Virginia’s Amy Hall with 78.30 percent.

This year’s elder division also has a high-percentage lineup with the top five boasting averages exceeding 78 percent. They are Russ Phillips of Washington; Herschel Walters of Indiana with two titles; Bobby Fields of Tennessee; Richard Pintor of Colorado; and defending champion Ed Arionus of Texas with three elders titles.

Competition will begin by 8 a.m. each day through the first week, starting Monday, July 18, with a break for NHPA convention and Hall of Fame banquet on Sunday, July 24, then will resume at 7 a.m. Monday, July 25.

Junior and cadet champions will be determined Saturday, July 23 with competition beginning at 5:45 p.m. Titles and scholarships will be awarded in junior boys, junior girls and cadet divisions.

The open men, elder men and open women championships will be decided in the final rounds of competition on Saturday, Aug. 7. Elders and women begin at 8 a.m., men at 1 p.m.

Admission is free and spectators are encouraged for all levels of competition. Concessions and souvenirs will be available.

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

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