Senior Games bring out group of horseshoe pitchers

Saturday, June 21, 2008 | 5:21 p.m. CDT; updated 1:49 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Larry Brown, 59, of Millersburg started competing in horseshoe events about 20 years ago.

He noticed a tournament at Cosmopolitan Park and was interested.

Brown said to himself, “Get yourself some shoes” and got hooked on the game. He also described Kelly Hill, commissioner of the Missouri State Senior Games horseshoe division, as being influential in his decision to become involved with the sport.

A small group of about 14 players gathered in Cosmo Park on Friday to participate in the 2008 Missouri State Senior Games horseshoe event. The competition included singles and doubles divisions.

“That’s what I love about horseshoes, it mixes all ages, and people support your competitor,” Brown said. “It’s all levels of skill, and it’s open and inclusive.”

Brown took first place in the 55-59 year singles division. After the game, Brown posed for a photo wearing his first-place medal with fellow competitor Larry Joe Pauley, who won second place in their division.

Pauley, 59, of Columbia started participating in the State Senior Games when he turned 50 and picked horseshoes as an event he would do. He also participates in other Senior Games sports and said he planned to compete in several track-and-field events later on in the weekend.

“It’s fun to come out and be around the people,” Pauley said.

“These pits are very muddy so it’s more difficult,” Brown said, after throwing a few following the Senior Games horseshoe event.

Brown said some of his favorite moments have been when players would throw the horseshoe, and it would bounce off of the peg sticking out of the ground, which would send the horseshoe flying. He said these instances are one reason for fences around the pits. Other moments Brown has enjoyed are when he has gotten to watch some of the best pitchers, folks who can throw eighty percent, or when their horseshoe lands around the stake in the ground eight out of ten throws.

Brown placed third in his age group at the 2007 Summer National Senior Games in Louisville, Ky. He also participates in the Missouri Horseshoe Pitchers Association and the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association of America.

The Missouri Horseshoe Pitchers Association says it is the largest charter in the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association and the largest sanctioned club in the United States.

“Missouri is a big horseshoe pitching state,” Brown said.

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