Some present-day members may have had the experience of seeing in person, a horseshoe pitching exhibition and trick shots by present-day pitching heroes. My first such experience of trick shot exhibition was conducted by Don Titcomb some twenty years ago, and I was spellbound by the trick shots that accomplished. Our era has had other pitchers that would occasionally put on an exhibition, but the audience would generally be only the bystanders of tournament players that were around the court area. We need to look back some 40 years to note exhibitions scheduled as an on-the-road show.

But if we look back to the 1920's and 1930's, pitching exhibitions were commonplace. The games top pitchers, the big names were on the road. Their pitching shows were scheduled out and were advertised. Admission was charged and believe it or not, most of the shows achieved huge crowds of hundreds of spectators. That was a different era of our sport.

The early-day exhibitions were described by Leland Mortenson, in his accounting of the sport's history in Iowa. Frank Jackson, Putt Mossman, Guy Zimmerman and Ted Allen were head-liners. For some shows, pitchers might team-up and compete against each other. Some even brought their spouses on the road, who also maintained incredible skills.

What is interesting in the following article, is that ringer percentage was not the measurement to record the players skill and accomplishment. The number of shoes pitched was not recorded, so it boiled down to ringers pitched in a 50 point game. The fact that our sport received such media coverage is also incredible. The fact that the Jacksons were in town may have lend to the length of the article, but each and every city vs. city contest was written up in the sports page (back in the day). Remember that when this event took place, the hooked shoe had not been developed, the shoes used were called plain, or rounds and were hookless shoes.

The following is the Rochester newspaper accounting of one of Frank Jackson's exhibitions. Would you believe over 700 folks were in attendance to witness this 1926 show...


Several Hundred Spectators Gather To See
Champion in Action, Hammond Man Gives Younger
Jackson Best Workout of Exhibition

By a score of 219 points and 66 ringers over their opponents, Rochester horseshoe pitchers won from Austin in a 36 game meet yesterday morning in Mayo Park.

In the afternoon more than 700 gathered to see such pitching of horseshoes as they had ever seen before when Frank E. Jackson, national champion, and his son, Vyrl, appeared in a match, throwing double after double and always at least one ringer.

Rain clouds gathered shortly before the afternoon tournament, but the shower stopped in time for the match. Charlie Beyer of Hammond, gave the younger Jackson the best competition of any local players with a score of 30 points and 27 ringers against his 50 points and 33 ringers.

No one could touch the senior Jackson. Sun browned and wearing an old slough hat, brown trousers held up by good old-fashioned suspenders, Jackson senior, pitched his shoes with perfect ease, while he kidded the crowd between plays. No one could hold a candle to him except his son. The two played two games together. The scoring was as follows: Jackson senior, 52 points, 42 ringers, 17 doubles; Jackson junior, 28 points, 34 ringers, 9 doubles; the second game, Jackson senior, 51 points, 39 ringers, 13 doubles; Jackson junior, 39 points, 34 ringers, 7 doubles.

The first event in the tournament was a double match between Frank Jackson and Bill Havenor vs. Vyrl Jackson and Otto Hanke. The ringers were as follows; Jackson senior, 51 points, 23 ringers, 9 doubles: Havenor, 8 points, 9 ringers and 3 doubles; Jackson junior, 54 points,22 ringers, 5 points; Hanke, 11 points, 10 ringers.

Results of the game between Jackson senior and Herman Beyer of Hammond was Jackson, 50 points, 28 ringers, 9 doubles; Beyer, 4 points, 12 ringers, 2 doubles.

Following the games, the Jacksons presented fancy pitching. This included throwing shoes through a hoop and making doubles on the stake, throwing the shoes over pop bottles close to the stake without breaking the bottles, and pitching at four stakes and putting the shoe on one desired.

In the match with Austin, the local players were Havenor, Hanke, W. Mundt, Wm. Gordy, Henry Schefelbine, and H. Badger. The Austin players were Max Miller, Pete Peterson, Tom DeMoss, James Miller, J.E. Mooney and Ed Conlin.

Scores made by individual players were as follows:
Rochester	W  L  P    R
Havenor		4  2  273 106
Hanke		6  0  308 107
Mundt		4  2  296  96
Gordy		3  3  214  65
Sheffelbine	3  3  273  85
Badger		0  6  161  77
	        20 16 1525 536

Austin		W  L  P    R
Miller		3  3  228  80
Peterson	2  4  176  55
DeMoss		5  1  272 100
Miller		2  4  215  74
Mooney		2  4  240  90
Conlon		2  4  175  71
		16 20 1306 470