Whether you and your friends want to organize a backyard or picnic tournament or a sanctioned tournament, you need to have a few fundamental tools and guidelines. The NHPA provides suitable rules and court dimensions which generally apply to all levels of play. They are published on the NHPA internet website along with several useful articles on court construction, pit materials, backyard courts, scoring, etiquette, calculating averages, etc. and sources for purchasing horseshoes. Information on sanctioning of tournaments can be obtained thru the NHPA Regional Director for your area (RD LIST).

If you are going to record only WINS and LOSSES, you can handle the "paperwork" on a slip of paper. However, if you wish to record ringer averages or if you want to record sanctioned play, you will need game scoresheets and tournament master scoresheets in order to collect the necessary data to calculate averages and for tournament results submittals to the NHPA national statistics center (% NATSTATS, 652 Cross Street, Anoka, MN 55303).

NATSTATS records on all active members of the NHPA are posted on the NHPA WEBSITE (at top of main page). The averages shown are the combined average from the pitcher's 3 highest tournament results during the past 12 months (or last 10 tournaments in the same time period). Tournament directors use these averages when "seeding" contestants in tournament play. "Classes" usually seed highest average down to lowest average in decending order with lineup contestant No. 1 having the highest average. Some tournaments separate and some tournaments mix the "Divisions" (Men, Women, Junior Boys, Junior Girls, Seniors and Elders). Mens and Senior Mens Divisions honor 37-ft pitching distance foul lines (full distance). Women, Juniors and Elders Divisions honor 27-ft pitching distance foul lines (short distance). Men aged 70 or more have the option each year to declare themself either a full distance or short distance pitcher. They cannot switch back and forth during any given calendar year. Junior Boys until the age of 9 may honor 20-ft pitching distance foul lines and Junior Boys may only pitch short distance until age 18 when as adults they must pitch full distance. See the RULES and BYLAWS posted on the NHPA website for more specific language.

Before tournament play begins, the Tournament Director must announce whether "cancellation" or "count-all" scoring will be used and whether games will end when a certain score limit is reached or when a certain shoe count limit is pitched...and how ties, if any, will be broken. Only one contestant can score per inning in cancellation while both contestants's scores are recorded in count-all play regardless of the lie of the opponent's shoes.

Round-Robin play is used by each "CLASS" of contestants using schedules designed to have each contestant play one game against each of the others in the same class, thus the name "round-robin". MORE DETAILS are given on the NHPA website. Sample round-robin schedules are given for 4 thru 18 man play, with and without byes.

Game scoresheets record the results of every inning, whether the tournament play is "cancellation" or "count-all" scoring. See SCORING GAMES to read more on how to score games and view/print sample scoresheets.

The game scoresheets are taken immediately after each game concludes to the Tournament Director or tournament head scorekeeper where a Tournament Master Scoresheet on each CLASS is maintained. The master scoresheet records each individual's results against each opponent and summarizes them as the tournament's official record on WINS/LOSSES, shoes pitched, ringers pitched and the contestant's official tournament ringer average (based upon the recorded shoes and ringers pitched). It is data from the tournament master scoresheet which is forwarded to NATSTATS to be used in calculating "3-high averages" updated weekly on the NHPA website.

Pads of game scoresheets and blank master scoresheet forms, as well as a supply of round-robin schedules may be ordered by postal or online contact with NHPA "Game Related Sales" DISTRIBUTORS. They show more than 30 models of professional horseshoes and many more horseshoe pitching related books, tapes, tools, jewelry, etc.in their SALES CATALOG.