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:
First – Leonard Gadd, Ponoka
Second – Ray Prevost, High Prairie
Third – Cliff Miller, Red Deer
First – Lyle Olmsead, Claresholm
Second – Bill Hinds, Breton
Third – Myrna Kissick, Innisfail
First – Fred Broska, Ponoka
Second – Roy Spelrem, Ponoka
Third – Jim Lea, Tofield
First – Vern Lynde, Airdrie
Second – Roger Laforce, Mirror
Third – Charlie Whatley, Innisfail
First – Marg Grahn, Red Deer
Second – Hugh Derraugh, Lougheed
Third – Dick Foster, Red Deer
First – Doreen Peers, Calgary
Second – Bill Vold, Ponoka
Third – Ben Fecho, Ponoka
First – Janice Drader, Wetaskiwin
Second – Aileen Drozoouski, Lougheed
Third – Joan Miller, Red Deer