Horseshoe pitchers from across the country got a chance to practise their throws at the Victoria Saanich Open, ahead of the National Horseshoe Pitching Championships that kick off today.
Sixty competitors entered the open tournament this past weekend at the Greater Victoria Horseshoe Pitching Association’s club near Glanford Park, aiming to increase their rankings going into the nationals.
“Every tournament you go into, you’re ranked by your ringer percentage from past tournaments,” said Tom Moffat of the GVHPA. “Some of the women are averaging 69 per cent ringers and the top man, from Quebec, is about 65 per cent.”
Players from Ontario and New Brunswick also stopped by the Victoria Saanich Open to warm up for the nationals, which run over the next four days at the GVHPA clubhouse. Moffat said 163 pitchers are entered into the Canadian competition, with divisions for men, women, elders, juniors and peewees.
“Our youngest player is six and there’s a fellow playing in the one of the groups who’s 91 years old,” said Moffat, noting the universal appeal of the sport. “Most people think horseshoes is a backyard sport that you play at picnics and barbecues, but it’s quite an organized sport. It’s people from every walk of life that are out here playing, and they just love it.”
Standout competitors include the club’s own two-time junior world champion Lindsay Hodgins and 17-time Canadian women’s champion Sylvianne Moisan from Quebec. This year marks the fifth time the GVHPA has hosted the national event, with competition set for the 28 outdoor pitches throughout the four days.
“We’re really looking forward to it,” said Moffat. “It’s great publicity for the sport and great exposure.”