Ringer Digest
December-January 2014
Official Publication of the Minnesota Gopher State Horseshoe Pitchers' Association
The Horseshoes in the Valley fall shootout (held at Primm Valley Resort and Casino, NV) saw a fun and successful event this October. Class A winners (above, right to left) were Sheila, Sig, Tom and Roger. Unfortunately, all future events have been canceled at this time due to decisions made by the resort's upper management. Thanks to all who showed interest!
MGSHPA President
Cathy Ziemann




By the time you all are reading this, we will be in the middle of the 2014 Holiday Season.  I hope everyone has recovered from their Thanksgiving feast.  


Just a reminder that the winter tournaments will be filling fast, if you are thinking of entering one, contact the tournament director as soon as you see them posted.  


As you all know the 2015 World Tournament will be held in Topeka, KS - relatively close to Minnesota - so if you need qualifying events, these tournaments will be a great way to achieve this. 

A reminder - if you are playing in any winter tournaments after January 1, 2015 - your must get your 2015 Membership Card before you will be eligible to play. 


League Secretaries - I will consistently remind you of the importance of getting State & National Sanction dues sent in to Bonnie Holland in a timely manner. Even though we are just in December, it is not too early to think about your spring meetings and getting your players sanctioned. Once our Spring leagues have begun, I will be asking Bonnie for an update on sanction dues, so please be diligent and get player information and dues submitted ASAP. 


I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Bloomington club league results
by Gene Gross


Team League Results (Wednesday nights)


The Wednesday night Team League, consisting of six, three-person teams (with most teams having a fourth member for subs), completed their season Aug 13.  The winning team consisting of Maxine Abeln, Elaine Dupont and Mary Knoblach won both the first and second halves. This team, known as "The Ladies Team" has won four times in the last six years.

Lyle Abeln had the best personal win/loss record with 24 wins and only eight losses. Larry Miller had the high average of 27.93%. He also had the High Game of 48% and the High Game Over Average award with a 46% game. Kelly Reardon was awarded the Most Improved, going from 16.70% to 22.89%. Dave Wetzlich won the Rookie of the Year award. We switched to three 50-shoe games from four after a league vote which proved to be very popular. Bill Lundholm again did a great job of the league secretarial duties.


Singles League Results (Tuesday nights)


The Tuesday night Singles League is a three game, 50-shoe night. Sara Otto won this league with 18 wins and 6 losses. She edged out Jim David by percentage points. Jim led for most of the season with only 9 losses but lost all three of those in the last week to finish second. Harold Bischel finished third. Sara had the High Average of 56.50%. Vern Bolduc (22.94%) won the High Game Over Average with a 40% game.Vern, age 89, won this award in the last week of the season. He had a down year because of a sore hand and had to wear a padded glove in the early part of the season. But by the end of the year he was starting to pitch much better. I asked Vern how he injured his hand and he said it occurred 70 years ago in Basic Training. I couldn't get over it, a 70 year old injury that was acting up at his age of 89. Jim David won the Most Improved for the second year in a row going from 40.69% to 43.58%.


Year End Club Tournament

Harold Bischel won the Class A title at our Year End Club Tournament beating Jim David, who finished second. They played each other the last game and Harold pitched 27 ringers out of 40 shoes for a 67.5% game. Maxine Abeln won the Class B title beating out her husband, Lyle who finished 2nd. Mary Knoblach won Class C with Dustin Delfs finishing 2nd.

The Player of the Year Award, which goes to an individual not for their pitching success but for overall contributions to the club, went to Mary Knoblach. Mary has been a faithful member for years and rarely misses a pitching night.

(Click the link above to see all upcoming tournaments this fall and winter.)

Click here for a printable list of upcoming tournaments.

Tournament Results
Click on any of the tournament names below to see how players placed. 
(Listed in order of date played.)

Handicap calculation idea
by Gene Gross

At our Bloomington Club, we are considering a handicap change. We converted our Team League (which used to operate as a Cancellation club) to a Count-All a couple years ago. This past year, after a close club vote, we switched back to Cancellation. Most of us know that close shoe points are not reflected in the handicap for Cancellation. So some pitchers whose shoes are often near the stake but not ringers can have an advantage.

Bill Lundholm of our club, who is the League Director of our team league, has come up with an idea. 

He is proposing keeping track of each players average close shoe points. Then, in figuring handicap, he would include the difference in average close shoe points multiplied by 80% and add this to the ringer % handicap. We will vote on this in our spring meeting. In the meantime, we would love to hear from anyone who has thought about this problem.

Have suggestions or ideas? E-mail Gene at: [email protected]

Happy Holidays!

In The Lee Rose Story, National Horseshoe Pitchers Association (NHPA) historian Bob Dunn weaves Jacobs' hand-written journal entries into a moving story that takes a forty-year journey through a remarkable and formative era in the sport of horseshoe pitching.

Scroll to the bottom of the newsletter or click here 
for a link to order this new book by Robert Dunn
Clank & Thud Horseshoe Club
by Russ Girtz

Horseshoe pitching has many good stories to tell. This is the story about respect for the past blended with excitement for a new beginning.


My Dad, Dan Girtz, started me in horseshoe pitching when I was a kid. We lived not far from the Priemesberger Arena in Genola so we had access to a world class facility. Many nights were spent pitching and watching the adults pitch. Then the 1981 World Tournament came to town and I was in awe. Seeing the championship Boy's and Girl's classes was impressive. Then to watch the Men's and Women's champions was even more unbelievable. Unfortunately, other interests drew me away from competitive horseshoe pitching for many years. Fast forward to 2013 when I entered (and won) a small non-sanctioned doubles tournament at a local festival. I was hooked by the game again. That win, with Don Claseman as my partner, led me to join the Santiago Horseshoe Club's Summer League. That league, organized by Jim Aleckson and Brian Wipper, just celebrated its 25th Anniversary. I had a fun year and met my doubles partner, Boots Skelton, on the first night. I also recruited a rookie player, Wayne Peterson, to join us in the league. 


Wayne and his family were also quickly hooked and soon put in a court in their back yard. As the summer went on, I challenged Wayne to find us a nearby building for some winter pitching. Within a week he came up with a great solution: the local Legion Post. The Legion had its meetings in a portion of the old Fire Station in Becker and the dimensions of the underutilized truck bays were perfect to fit four courts. We worked out an agreement with the Legion members and started planning the court layout.


Mike DeMars was able to get us a load of clay from southern Minnesota, we found a local welder to create the initial set of stakes and some unused deck material from my back yard formed the boxes. We settled on Open Pitch Tuesdays and a Singles League on Wednesdays and then started looking for some players. Ten players signed up and we were ready to throw. Wayne suggested several ideas for a club name including Clank & Thud which quickly stuck. My son came up with some logo ideas and the club setup was complete. The Open Pitch nights have been successful including several new adult and youth pitchers trying their hand. We can always use more so please come join us if you have an open night!  Discussions of the proper technique for turns or flips are common on Tuesday nights!

Clank & Thud Horseshoe Club founding members
Tuesday Night Open Pitch saw youth players

The League turned out to be a blast. We played a 50 shoe, count all, handicapped, double round robin format. We selected a 90% handicap level that produced exciting close games each night. Our goal is to run at least 2 league sessions in the early spring, so let me know if you want to come over.


Thanks to all who have helped get us this far, especially Legion Post 193, Wayne, RaeJean, Ron, Chuck, Boots, and Jim.


Come on over and pitch.  You can contact us through our website at

MGSHPA November 2014 membership meeting minutes
by Kayla Yaeger, Ringer Digest Editor


The meeting was called to order at 9:58am by president Cathy Ziemann who offered a welcome to the membership and introduced Kevin Maloney, Manager of Sports for the 2015 National Senior Games. Maloney gave a brief address on the 2015 Games which will be held in Minnesota and will include a horseshoe pitching competition.


Cathy recognized that the Fall Membership Minuets could not be approved as the October-November edition of the Ringer Digest was still in the process of being published. Mention was given to approve the minutes at the next meeting.


Financial Report (Bonnie Holland) - MGSHPA Income Statements were presented from the time period of January 1, 2014 to October 31, 2014. Robin Constance made a motion for approval, seconded by Sig Armitage.


Constitution & Bylaws (Gordy Schmidt) Reminder was made of proposed rule change to the language in Bylaws regarding the suspension of members. Language change was proposed in October-November issue of Ringer Digest.


Officer and Director Reports - Bonnie Holland began by handing out a packet titled "Duties of a VP" outlining general expectations of the VP position. Mention was made that Alexandria has added new horseshoe courts. Robin Constance (West Metro) gave a brief update on State Doubles and the Senior Games (to be held in 2015). Jerry LaBorsse (Historian) gave an update on the Primm Valley tournament, stating that the courts currently being used in Prim Valley will not be needed in MN for two years. It was also mentioned that the door spring and skylight on the trailer need repair.


Ringer Digest (Kayla Yaeger) - Indicated that the October-November Digest would come out in the beginning of November in order to incorporate more tournament results and league wrap-ups in the fall edition. 


New business - Sig Armitage mentioned a desire to see high game patches (like those awarded at many club banquets) awarded in tournaments, with possibility of one patch per class. Cathy Ziemann moved to table the discussion until pricing information and a design could be researched.


2014 State Singles Recap (Janet Larson/Gary Boots) - Financial report was given with mention of positive bottom line for tournament.


A motion was made by Gordy Schmidt, seconded by Robin Constance to adjourn the meeting. The meeting adjourned at 10:55am.

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About Us
MGSHPA's Ringer Digest is the official newsletter of the Minnesota Gopher State Horseshoe Pitchers' Association. It is free to members of the MGSHPA and other interested partieis. Changes of email address can be sent directly to [email protected].

All submissions subject to editing, available space, and must be received by the 10th of the month preceding the date of issue.
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