1929 World Tournament
St. Petersburg, Fla. - Feb. 4-9, 1929

Permission granted by author, Gary T. Kline of
"The Official N.H.P.A. History of the World Tournament 1909-1980", Reflection Press, Dayton, Ohio
Gary T. Kline's book on past world tournament (before 1980) is recommended reading for any horseshoe pitching enthusiast. With his kind permission, we bring excerpts from his fabulous collection of data, to wit:

1929 World Tournament (Winter)

This is the last of the lost tournaments. It was feared that this book would be published without this year. The complete results of 1929 have never appeared in any other book. This honor was made possible by Eino Tiilikainen of Colorado. In his long and illustrious career, Eino was State Champion of Colorado in 1950 and 1953, and in later years served the N.H.P.A. as Chairman of the Hall of Fame Committee. Eino also contributed the history of Colorado to Ottie Reno's fine book entitled The Story of Horseshoes. Thanks again, Eino, for the only known copy of the March 1929 issue of the very informative Horseshoe World.

This was the first tournament since Feb. of 1923 to be decided in one round robin play. Fine media coverage with many feature articles were provided by Jeff Moshier, Sports Editor of the Evening Independent, and J. L. McDonald, Sports Editor of the Morning Times. Opening ceremonies were highlighted by speeches from the Chamber of Commerce by M. M. Deadrick, Secretary, and Paul Conant, Director of Tourist Relations. N.H.P.A. president, H. L. Ermatinger, and N.H.P.A. secretary and tournament director, D. D. Cottrell, also waxed eloquently. For scheduling purposes, each player drew a number.

This 16 man group still holds the record for the smallest field in the history of the World Tournament. They were a very talented aggregation though. In this skilled group was five-time World Champion, C. C. Davis; two time World Champion, George May; three-time World Champion, Putt Mossman; 1923 World Champion, Harold Falor; Bert Duryee, Kansas Champion; Jimmy Risk, Indiana Champion; Harvey Elmerson, Wisconsin Champion; Gaylord Peterson, Illinois Champion; F. L. Antill, Pennsylvania Champion; C. R. Thompson, former Florida Champion; David T. Leonard, winner of four consecutive New York Championships; and the always dangerous Ohioan, James D. Hough, who enjoyed whipping World Champions and other big favorites.

In the tourney's first game, Elmerson and defending champion Davis hooked up in a 96 shoe affair, the longest of the meet. Davis led 14-3 after ten innings, only to have Elmerson pass him for good in the 24th inning, winning 50-40. In a second game match-up, Putt Mossman lived up to his boast in the newspaper by beating Davis, also by a 50-40 score. In the big match of the first day, featuring 13 four deads, Nunamaker with a fine 78 percent led from start to finish, disposing of Risk, 50-31. Tossing 25 doubles (the most for the tournament), Risk (73 percent) fought by Hough (70 percent), who had 20 doubles, 50-44. Risk threw 82 percent thumping May, 50-10. Duryee with 76 percent crushed Anspaugh, 50-3. First day leaders were Nunamaker, Duryee and Elmerson - all 3-0 with Risk, Hough, Mossman, Thompson, Peterson and Leonard all knotted at 2-1.

Early Tuesday action found a tight Nunamaker pitted against Duryee. Bert pitching only 64 percent took the lead in the fifth inning and cruised to an easy 50-30 victory over Blair who came up short with only 53 percent. Anspaugh beat Benedict, 50-29, for his only win. Davis (76 percent) punished Anspaugh, 50-10. In key match-ups, Risk bounced Mossman, 50-37, as well as Thompson, 50-32. Nunamaker (71 percent) in a 94 shoe match thumped Peterson, 50-28 and Duryee topped Elmerson, 50-43. Harvey trailed 45 to 22 and chopped that down to 45-43 before missing three of his last four shoes to promptly end this contest. With one round left to go for the day, Duryee was the only man undefeated; but then he met Hough. After two innings, Duryee led 9-0. After eight, Bert led 18-13. In the eleventh, Hough took the lead, 19-18, thanks to a Duryee double miss. At the end of 18, Duryee ran out to a commanding 40-19 lead. Hough then climbed to 31. After 24 innings, Bert led 46-37. Hough then threw seven ringers in eight shoes, abruptly ending this match because Bert could only manage two ringers.

Rain cancelled all matches Wednesday giving the sore fingered Davis and Maya much needed rest. It also gave all the buffs a chance to speculate about the outcome. Those strongly in contention were Nunamaker, Risk, Duryee and Hough - all 5-1. Davis, Elmerson, Mossman, Thompson and Peterson were all tightly bunched at 4-2. Nunamaker's stock had increased in value by hurling 81 percent while blasting Morris, 50-4.

Thursday had a number of super matches. May (85 percent) trounced his protege Falor, 50-18. Duryee's 75 percent spanked Thompson, 50-7. Elmerson humiliated Morris, 50-1 with an 87 percent game. In pivotal contests, Duryee took Mossman, 50-32; Putt whipped Elmerson, 50-29; and Duryee repelled Risk, 50-42, both tossing only 55 percent. While having an excellent day, Nunamaker (75 percent) warmed Hough, 5027 and stroked it to Mossman, 50-22 with a 78 percent.

The feature match of the day was a third game shootout between Nunamaker and Davis. C. C. immediately took the lead and led 28-26 after 24 innings. Next inning, Blair scored a big six. After 34 frames, Blair was in front, 36-35. At the end of 42 innings, Blair was on top, 4944. Davis picked up three points on a double making it now 49-47. Davis promptly threw another double. With defeat but a miss away, Blair quickly covered this pair. Blair then hooked his two and Davis' second shoe came off ending this super match. The winner had 71 percent and the loser 70 percent in what has to be rated one of the three most crucial contests of the tourney. Hough, who was to beat every past champion in this meet, jumped Davis shortly afterward winning 50-34. The leaders after Thursday play were Nunamaker (9-1), Duryee (8-1), Risk (8-2), Hough (7-3), Elmerson (6-3), Thompson (7-4), Davis (6-4), and Mossman (6-4).

Friday produced some high percentages. Some of the routs were Davis (79 percent)-50, Falor-15; Davis (75 percent)-50, Leonard-9; Duryee (79 percent)-50, Benedict-I; Duryee (78 percent)-50, Morris-8; Duryee (84 percent)-50, Falor-12; Nunamaker (79 percent)-50, Thompson-18. In key tussles, Hough put away Mossman, 50-29 and Nunamaker held off Elmerson, 50-41. Friday's feature match was a seesaw battle between Davis and Duryee. The score was tied at 34 with 25 innings completed. After 32, Duryee clung to a 43-42 lead. Two frames later, Duryee had made it to 47. Next frame, Davis counted three on a double to make it 47-45. Davis came back with another double and Bert missed both shoes, virtually giving up the ghost in his title chase. It will be remembered that Nunamaker held up against the pressure in his struggle with Davis.

In Saturday action, Davis knocked off Risk, 50-24, pushing Jimmy to third place. Twenty-three year old Blair Nunamaker beat his tutor May, 50-16 and Anspaugh, 50-6 to capture his only World Championship. (In 1923, Blair's father, William, had asked his close friend, George May, to take Blair under his wing as Hughie Palmer had done with George. Mr. Nunamaker was a strong lover of the sport, and as such had wanted his son to be a champion.) Blair had become the third different pitcher in a decade to become World Champion using Palmer's style.

This event ended a beautiful era. Never again was a championship meet to be pitched in the winter and it would be 50 years later that the South would again see a World Tournament. Thank you, St. Petersburg! We horseshoe pitchers have not forgotten your contribution.

Blair Nunamaker, now a member of the Hall of Fame, died at the tender age of 38, but in those few short years left his indelible mark on the history of Horseshoe Pitching forever!

1929 World Tournament St. Petersburg, Fla. - Feb. 4-9, 1929
W.L.R.Sp. Pet.
1.Blair NunamakerCleveland, Ohio14166095069.5
2. Bert DuryeeWichita, Kansas13257785067.9
3. Jimmy RiskMontpelier, Ind.12361596863.5
4.C. C. DavisColumbus, Ohio11460289867.0
5.Putt MossmanEldora, Iowa10559596261.9
6. James D. HoughUrbana, Ohio105580100257.9
7. Harvey ElmersonKenosha, Wis.10556189262.9
8. C. R. ThompsonHarvey, Ill.9651288457.9
9.David T. LeonardAdams Basin, N.Y.8748891653.3
10. Gaylord PetersonToluca, Ill.7857897659.2
11. F. L. AntillWashington, Pa.6948393451.7
12. George MayAkron, Ohio4 1145187251.7
13. Harold FalorOrlando, Fla.31240885647.7
14. Eddie MorrisSt. Petersburg, Fla.21335080443.5
15. Jesse R. AnspaughNew Carlisle, Ohio1 1426372236.4
16. Claude A. BenedictJohnstown, Ohio01522169032.0