EXERCISEºRECREATIONºSPORT



38      HORSESHOE PITCHING ---- HOW TO PLAY THE GAME

     Kansas City, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri, had become quite a center of the sport and nearly every hamlet or village within a hundred or more miles had its local champion.
     Horseshoe pitching contests for teams representing different cities were held on clay courts in Convention Hall, Kansas City, Mo., in 1900, and again at Independence, Mo., in the summer of 1902. Other similar contests were held at different times and places.
     In 1905 an Ottawa, Kansas, team of four men challenged any other four-man team to play for a cash prize of $100. A team, consisting of W. Fox, W. M. Baldwin, Robert Pierce and A. B. Argenbright, of Kansas City, Mo., accepted the challenge. The Ottawa team was Mr. Hollingsworth, Judge Robert Harrison, Seth Cope and another man whose name the writer could not learn. Kansas City team had shoes made out of rasps. The contest was held on pegs two inches high above the level ground and 38 1/2 feet apart. Players were required to stand back of the peg with toe against it.
     Ringer counted 3 points, leaner 2 points and any shoe within 6 inches of peg one point.
     The men of the Ottawa team pitched first. One was was placed at each peg and each pitched 80 shoes. Then the other two men in the Ottawa team pitched the same way. The four men made a total of 444 points. Then the four men of the Kansas City, Mo., team each pitched 80 shoes in the same way and scored a total of 447 points. The high man of the Kansas City team was Argenbright, who made 144 points, beating Hollingsworth, the high man of the Ottawa team by three points. These three points were accounted for by the last shoe when Argenbright pitched a ringer, scoring three points and winning the meet for Kansas City when the score stood at 444 points for each team until the last shoe was thrown.
     About 1907, Manhattan (Kansas) College offered a prize for the best two men teams and also for the best individual pitcher. Argenbright and Pierce won first prize for team pitching and Frank Jackson who has been World's Champion so many years and, who then lived at Blue Mound, Kansas, won the prize for best individual pitcher. Each team played every other team one 21-point game, and each individual pitcher played every other one 21-point game.
     According to the writer's best information the first horseshoe pitching tournament in which competition was open to the world was held the summer of 1909 in Bronson, Kansas, and Frank Jackson, the winner, was awarded a World's Championship belt with horseshoes attached to it. Mr. Jackson had never heard of being able to hold a shoe so it would open toward the peg at this time but had been practicing to find some way by holding his shoe with his finger around the heel calk so he could pitch ringers. The games were played on dirt courts on stakes 2 inches high above the level ground and 38 1/2 feet apart. Jackson had acquired the skill of pitching a ringer over the stake and laying his second shoe on top of the stake time after time so his opponent couldn't keep his ringer on. Each man drew a number in this tournament and No. 1 played No. 2, No. 3 played No. 4 and so continued until every man had played. Then numbers were drawn again by the winners, and play continued in the same way until the last winner was declared the World's Champion.
     Two or three years latter the height of the stake was raised to 6 inches; ringers counted 5 points; leaner or hubber counted 3 points and closest shoe regardless of distance counted one point. Top ringer received the count of all ringers that were on the peg under it, Which means two ringers 10 points, three ringers 15 points, all counted for the man whose ringer was on top. Games were still 21 points. There was no regulation as to weight or size of shoe. One pitcher had a shoe in which the curve on one side was four inches more than on the other side. At a Topeka tournament, Jackson used a pair of shoes he had made by a blacksmith, who bent the calks so the shoe would slide better in the sand and help him to slide ringers on the peg. Tournaments were held in Kansas City, Missouri, or Kansas nearly every year and Jackson successfully