By Ted Landis, Jr.
For The Daily Advocate
GREENVILLE – The Ohio Horseshoe Pitchers Association held its grand opening Saturday morning for its Hall of Fame at Greenville’s Shelter No. 4 located in Greenville City Park.
The Hall of Fame grand opening was held in conjunction with the 55th annual Ringer Classic this past weekend starting at Saturday morning for the elders, Saturday afternoon for the women and finishing up on Sunday for the men.
“There is no fee to see the Hall of Fame, which is constructed into the building at the shelter,” Tournament Director Brian Fisher said. “It took approximately one year to build with the labor and electrical wiring all donated along with materials purchased at Lowe’s, which gave us a nice discount.
“Gary Proof is the one who made the illustration picture and painting outside the Hall of Fame,” Fisher said. “Delbert Fourman helped with the construction along with Ray Beyke, Dan Holman and himself.
“I also want to thank Deb Berger, parks manager, along with Dale and Paul Musser who do wonderful work with the park board. Cami Harlan is quite a gem also as she donated one half of the building costs to construct this building. Cami was also past park board president and city attorney.”
Dignitaries were in attendance for the Hall of Fame grand opening, namely Gary Roberts of the Horseshoe Pitching Championship Hall of Fame. Alan Francis was the most noted horseshoe pitcher there, as he is the current Open Men’s Division World Champion.
Francis will go for his 20th world championship later on this month at Topeka, Kansas. Francis, who is from Defiance, throws at an 86 percent ringer proficiency along with pitching 16 perfect games. Jim McCombs also was there as he directed the Ringer Classic from 1956 to 2006. He is also one of the first six people to start the Darke County Horseshoe Club.
The 55th annual Ringer Classic had 99 participants from five states that included
Indiana, Michigan, Florida, West Virginia, Kentucky and of course the Buckeye State.
There were several age categories for all people of the horseshoe throwing population. The first were the two juniors categories for the youngsters, the men from 20 to 70 was another division along with the elders 70 and older, and the women’s category. There were throwing regulations as the men from 20-70 years of age had to pitch from 40 feet out while the juniors, elder men and the women were requested to pitch from 30 feet outwards.
“The world tournament has been held here five times in 1962, 1964, l972, l977 and 1999,” Fisher said. “We own the trademark, ‘Horseshoe Pitcher Capital of the World’ and are proud of this. Horseshoe pitching is a year round sport as we have three indoor courts at the Fairgrounds and five different winter leagues.”