The first article in this series of short stories gives us a snapshot of political leaders that not only enjoyed the game, but also gave a thrust to our sport's promotion at a time when horseshoe pitching ranked as one of the more popular sports across the country. Some of our members may be aware that while president, Warren Harding was named Honorary President of the NHPA in 1921. Most of us realize that President Truman, President Bush as well as his father had horseshoe courts on the White House lawn. Here are a few other political figures that were part of our game. This article is from the Literary Digest February 1922.


Pitching horseshoes is no longer a hick game, especially since the national tournament of the National and Minnesota State Horseshoe Pitcher's Association for the championship of the world was "tossed off" last week at the Minnesota State Fair. President Harding plays the game.
In the good old days, writes William L. Young in the Kansas City Star, he pitched a rusty pair, but now he owns one pair finished in nickel and another one cooper with his name engraved on each. These he received from General H. M. Lord, April 18, 1921, when he accepted the Honorary Presidency of the 50,000 organized members of the National Horseshoe Pitchers' Association.

Governor Taylor of Tennessee is also, according to Mr. Taylor, "an ardent Barnyard performer." He claims the championship of his state, we are told, has his own links on the state capitol grounds, and has challenged any native to try for his title.

The prize in the world championship tournament at the Minnesota State Fair included gold medals set with diamonds, gold watches, silver loving cups, nickel-plated horseshoes in leather cases and other trophies, in addition to cash prizes to the total of $2,000. Not only were there contests for men, but women also showed their skill on courts ten feet shorter those for men. The game improved since the old days, says Mr. Young.

Who could ever imagine our peaceful and gentle game being the subject of litigation, or even criminal punishment for that matter? Well, in 1942, our sport of horseshoe pitching reached the Supreme Court of Louisiana. This interesting article is from American City May 1943.


Louisiana - City of New Orleans v. Estrade, Supreme Court, April 27, 1942, reported 8 so, (2d) 536.

The zoning ordinance of the City of New Orleans provides that in an "A" residence district no building or premises shall be put to non-residential use, except, among other uses, for golf courses and tennis courts. Estrade was charged with violating the ordinance by constructing on his side yard adjoining his home, two horseshoe pitching courts, equipped with electric lights to illuminate them for night playing. Some five or six nights a week and on Sunday afternoons he and his friends gathered there and pitched horseshoes pitching game in an "A" residential area in violation of the zoning ordinance.

The city contends that since the game of pitching horseshoes is not listed in the ordinance among any of the exceptions, it follows that it is prohibited.

The court thinks, however, that the city overlooks the underlying purpose for which the ordinance was enacted, i.e., for exclusive residential use. It was never intended to limit the citizens in the use and enjoyment of their own premises, by playing legitimate games or engaging in similar amusements there. It is not playing of games other than golf and tennis which is prohibited, but rather the establishment and maintenance of building or other structures for public use or semi-public use.

The fact that Estrade has erected permanent horseshoe pitching courts with electric lights for night playing does not alter the nature of the amusement. If the noise and lights are a nuisance, the neighbors have an adequate remedy in an action to abate it.

Here is another story of our sport in the (legal) courts. At least this is of a lighter note. Do take note of the pitchers involved, they are both members of the NHPA Hall of Fame. This newspaper dates back to June 1921...


When the ancient game of horseshoe pitching, sometimes called barnyard golf, gets into court it demand recognition as a regular sport.

My old friend "Sec" Taylor, for many years the sporting editor of the Register-Leader at Des Moines, Iowa, is being haled before the bar.

"Sec" got hooked as a stakeholder for a game of horseshoes of 300 points between C.C. Davis, Columbus, Ohio, and Frank Jackson, Kellerton, Iowa, the later being the national champion.

Davis won the match by 300 to 175, but just before "Sec" was going to pass over the purse over the purse and side bet of $400, the court was measured and it was found that it was 41 feet from peg to peg, instead of 40, as it should have been.

"Sec" refused to pay over the dough. Now he's tangled up in the law.

The results of this predicament could not be found, but the $400 side bet, would relate to between $18,000 to $22,000 in today's valve of money.

"Why isn't horseshoe pitching in the Olympics"? Ever hear that before? You probably have said it yourself at one time or another. There have been thorough explanations in NEWSLINE of what is involved for a sport to be part of the Olympics, and why many other sports are not part of the Olympics. Still, many of our members have wishes for horseshoe pitching to be a world known sport. That can be a common reaction with the humungis television and media coverage the Olympics receive. But be aware, that we, the present membership, are not the first to wish our sport belonging in the Olympics. Here is an interesting newspaper clipping dated September 2, 1923...


President Leighton, John McGovern, A.A.U. Official,
Will Attempt to Enter Barnyard Sport to Olympiad List

At a conference Saturday night between B.G. Leighton, president of the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association and Johnny McGovern, A.A.U. commissioner for the Northwest, plans were formulated which in all probability will result in the sending of Minnesota's crack horseshoe pitchers to the Olympic games in France next year. The state tournament for boys, women and men now under way at the Minnesota State Fair has taken a new and added significance because of this probability.

At the urgent request of Mr. Leighton, Mr. McGovern was prevailed upon to use every effort to have a horseshoe contest at the next Olympic Games. National horseshoe officials feel that with the tremendous interest being taken in this new national sport since its revival in 1915 and with the receiving information that horseshoe pitching is being played extensively in Japan, China, Australia, France, England, Scotland and Canada, that the Olympic committee would be justified in placing this sport in the Olympic games.

The horseshoe pitchers of the state now pitching for the various state championships will discuss this matte at their fourth annual convention late Tuesday afternoon. In all probability a committee will be appointed to start a campaign to raise funds to send the best players of the state to France.

And we are still wishing for and waiting for our sport to be an Olympic sport!