Washer and Horseshoe Pitchin’
Homecoming is upon us once again. We have been making preparations for the upcoming festivities for the past several months, and now are just weeks away from the big event. The washer and horseshoe tournaments have been taking place during Homecoming for many years.
It takes a lot to run these tournaments, but with the help and generosity of local residents it always seems to happen without a hitch.
The washer and horseshoe tournaments are a team competition. A small entry fee per team is collected at sign in. Prizes are award to the first, second, and third place teams. The prize money is from entry fees and the trophies are donated by various distributors. Wright Distributing in Bastrop will be sponsoring this year’s competitions.
Many people from Lee County and surrounding areas come out just to participate in these tournaments. They bring with them family and friends who go out on the Square and enjoy the arts and crafts, car show, food booths, and other various activities. Turnout for these events has grown over the past several years. The first year, there was less than ten washer teams, and now it is not uncommon to find 20 or more teams participate. The same growth rate has been seen with the horseshoe teams as well.
The tournaments are located southwest of the Square directly behind the old Feed Store.
Rules of Horseshoes
As published on indepthinfo.com
The two metal posts in horseshoes are situated 40’ apart. Ideally the ground between the two stakes should be level. Classically the ground around the stakes may be sandy, but is not necessary. If this area is not dug up, a few games with horseshoes flying into the pit, will convert the ground. The area around the stake is called a pit and may be surrounded by heavy wooden frame built level to the ground.
Two persons, or two teams of two persons each may play the game.
The players begin by choosing a set of two horseshoes based on color, traditionally green or red. Horseshoes will also be marked with an “A” or “B” in anticipation of the inevitable time when the paint is worn from the sets. The player to throw or pitch first is determined. This can be done by chance, or a pitch of one horseshoe from each player with the player getting closest to the stake determining the beginning order of play. (There is no scoring advantage to pitching first or last.)
The pitching line is within three feet of the player’s own stake, or approximately 37 feet from the stake towards which he is throwing. Players should at all times be aware when horseshoes are being pitched. Even the best horseshoe pitcher may sometimes throw a wild horseshoe. The large, heavy, metal object can cause serious injury even when flipped sideways and rolling along the ground. The best position for other players and spectators is behind the pitcher or out of range of wild pitches. Other adjustments can be made to move the foul line for other players. Children nine or under can pitch from the half-way point (20 feet). Juniors and women may pitch from anywhere behind the 27 foot line.
The first pitcher throws two consecutive horseshoes at the opposite stake. All other players and spectators should remain silent to avoid distracting the pitcher. The object of the pitcher is to get the horseshoe as close as possible to the stake, or better yet, to score a ringer by situating the horseshoe so that the stake is between the two arms of the shoe. If a straight line is drawn from tip to tip of the arms of the horseshoe, the line should not touch the stake. The term “ringer” has two meanings. One, the horseshoe seems to wrap around or ring the stake. Also a ringer will often hit the stake and cause a ringing or clanking noise.
Once the first player has pitched. The second player throws his two horseshoes. Again, getting as close to the stake as possible. When all four shoes have been tossed, the shoes are examined to determine any points to be awarded. There are two methods of scoring in horseshoes. Some tournaments and individual players insist that all points are counted. This means all ringers count for 3, and all shoes within 6 inches of the stake (including those touching or leaning on the stake) count as 1 point. More commonly cancellation scoring is used.