The Start of the Arch Stokes Award

More than 50 years have passed since the first Arch Stokes Award has been presented. The prestigious award is in remembrance of Archibald Stokes and is awarded to the NHPA member that has made the greatest contribution in the preceding three to five years to foster and promote the sport of horseshoe pitching. Here is a reprint of the initial announcement of the award and the guidelines as it appeared in the July 1958 issue of the Horseshoe Pitcher's News Digest. The first year's had actual nominations and ballots and voting for the recipient. Today the NHPA Executive Council selects the Arch Stokes Award recipients, although members can make nominations.

Arch Stokes, was inducted to the NHPA Hall of Fame in 1966 and is one of the six charter inductees. He was instrumental in building a lighted court complex in Murray, Utah. The 1947 World Tournament at Murray, was the first to be played on lighted courts and then the tournament returned to Murray for eleven consecutive years, from 1949 through 1959. Arch Stokes was elected NHPA president, serving from 1952- 1953 and was then re-elected as president for a 1956-1957 term. Arch Stokes passed away in October 1957.

Here is how that initial announcement appeared in the July 1958 issue of the News Digest...

(Ballot for Stokes Award Nomination) The very first recipient was Elmer Beller and was announced in the October 1958 issue of the News Digest. The following articles told of Beller's efforts and accomplishments

Elmer Beller, Former NHPA Secretary
Receives "Arch Stokes Memorial Award"

"One of the outstanding features of the 1958 World's Tournament held in Murray, Utah, this past summer was the presentation of the "Arch Stokes Memorial Award."

The presentation was made by Mrs. Mary Stokes, widow of the late Arch Stokes, past president of the National Horseshoe Pitchers' Association. She was introduced by her son-in-law Mr. Arvin Cook and his wife, Maurine, daughter of Mrs. Stokes.

Recipient of the award, by popular vote, was Mr. Elmer Beller, the retiring NHPA secretary. A more deserving person cannot be found, who has spent many years working in behalf of the horseshoe pitching sport. He is one that gets the job done without any fanfare, working quietly behind the scenes. He saw to it that all the things that make the World's Tournament run smoothly were in order before tournament time. His job entailed many endless hours correlating all the details that are involved in the National Secretary responsibilities. Along with that were many hours listing names for the News Digest and many more things, too numerous to mentioned here.

Besides his adeptness at secretarial work, Elmer, as he is affectionately known, is quite adept at pitching shoes, competing regularly in the various tournaments conducted in and around Southern California. He is seen each year competing in the "60 years or over" class conducted annually by the Southern California Association.

The officers and members of the NHPA are proud to have men of Elmer Beller's caliber within its membership.

Were we able to gaze upon the face of him, in whose memory the award was given, as he looks down from his celestial home, we would surely see a wonderful smile of satisfaction."

Following are the other Stokes Memorial Award recipients:
Achie Gregson CA 1959
Katie Gregson CA 1959
Harold Craig IN 1960
Mary Craig IN 1960
Bob Pence IN 1961
F. Ellis Cobb IL 1962
Ted Allen CO 1963
Ottie Reno OH 1964
Irvin Carlberg MI 1965
Reinhard Backer UT 1966
Will Gullickson MN 1967
Ralph Dykes IL 1968
Leo McGrath OH 1969
Wally Shipley CA 1970
Hal Hanania NJ 1971
Rolin Futrell OH 1972
Harold Cook FL 1973
Herb Okeson WA 1974
Bernard Herfurth MA 1976
Dan Schlosser OH 1977
Donnie Roberts OH 1978
Russell Gadoury MA 1979
Gary Kline OH 1980
Preimesbergers MN 1981
Sol Berman NJ 1982
Lee Davis FL 1983
Lee Elbe MO 1984
Vince Yannetti NY 1985
Bob Champion CO 1986
Terrance Dougherty PA 1987
Dave Loucks CA 1988
W. R. Williams,Jr. CA 1989
Don Koso NE 1990
Don Titcomb CA 1991
Earl Winston MO 1992
Winnie Winetrout WA 1993
Ed Domey MA 1994
Vicki Winston MO 1995
Jack Freeman TN 1996
Don Weaver NE 1997
Bob Dunn MN 1998
Charles Bunner WV 1999
Steve Summerlin MI 2000
Dick Hansen WI 2001
Paul Stewart NC 2002
Glenn Jamieson CA 2003
Casey Sluys CA 2004
Bonnie Seibold IN 2005
Joe Faron MO 2006
Lorraine, Sternberg WI 2007
Stuart Sipma ND 2008
Kurt Whaley ND 2009
Jerry LaBrosse MN 2010

Short bio's for all Stokes Award recipients are listed on the NHPA website, including a wonderful tribute to Arch Stokes written by Dave Loucks as it appeared in the July 1994 issue of Newsline.

It is now a new year, be sure that you send in your 2011 contribution to the NHPF.