Ponoka horseshoe pitcher heads to worlds

After pitching on and off for most of his life, an avid horseshoe player has landed a spot at the World Horseshoe Tournament

Roy Spelrem pitches a horseshoe at a tournament in Ponoka July 20.

After pitching on and off for most of his life, an avid horseshoe player has landed a spot at the World Horseshoe Tournament for the sixth time.

Roy Spelrem competed for the first time at worlds in Red Deer; he’s also pitched in Wisconsin, Illinois and Kentucky.

This year the tournament is held in St. George, Utah and will host 12,000 players from across Canada and the United States.

Worlds are usually held between the two countries, rather than abroad, because there aren’t many international players who attend the tournament. Spelrem remembers a couple of European players one year and a few Japanese another, but nothing much beyond that.

The tournament began July 22 and runs for two weeks. Spelrem pitches July 25 to 27.

The players are placed in groups of 16 where the pitching average between the top and bottom player can differ by one per cent. “I pitch around 50 per cent,” said Spelrem.

The winner of the B category, where Spelrem will pitch, receives $500. “You’re there to win. You’re there to win but it’s for fun too.”

“I used to be in category A but I’m not anymore. I got too old for that,” Spelrem added.

Although the competition at worlds is tight, Spelrem says it’s still a social game; at worlds and at more relaxed tournaments. “It’s one big family.”

“I think what I like about the game is anybody can play horseshoes. It’s not a money game, anybody can afford it.”

To qualify for the World Horseshoe Tournament players have to pitch in a minimum of four sanctioned tournaments, like the one that took place in Ponoka, July 20.

The tournament hosted players from across central Alberta and Spelrem placed second in the mixed B category.

Horseshoe Tournament results:

Class 40:

First – Leonard Gadd, Ponoka

Second – Ray Prevost, High Prairie

Third – Cliff Miller, Red Deer

Mixed A:

First – Lyle Olmsead, Claresholm

Second – Bill Hinds, Breton

Third – Myrna Kissick, Innisfail

Mixed B:

First – Fred Broska, Ponoka

Second – Roy Spelrem, Ponoka

Third – Jim Lea, Tofield

Mixed C:

First – Vern Lynde, Airdrie

Second – Roger Laforce, Mirror

Third – Charlie Whatley, Innisfail

Mixed D:

First – Marg Grahn, Red Deer

Second – Hugh Derraugh, Lougheed

Third – Dick Foster, Red Deer

Mixed E:

First – Doreen Peers, Calgary

Second – Bill Vold, Ponoka

Third – Ben Fecho, Ponoka

Mixed F:

First – Janice Drader, Wetaskiwin

Second – Aileen Drozoouski, Lougheed

Third – Joan Miller, Red Deer

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