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1940 World Tournament
Des Moines, Iowa - Aug, 24-27, 1940

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:

    The year 1940 ushered in the era of the 80 percent pitcher in World Tournament competition. Since 1935 no sanctioned World Tournament had been held. The Mid-West National Tournament was held during the years in between and featured all of the great stars of the game.

    Ted Allen won all of these except 1937 when Fernando Isais went undefeated and set a new national ringer percentage of 83.5 percent. These tournaments were equal to, even if not regarded as, sanctioned World Tournaments.

    The many who came early to the 1940 World Tournament were treated to the Iowa State Championships which were in progress. Zimmerman threw ringers at a furious pace. His best game was 98.07 percent, tossing 51 of 52 for a new national record. Zimmerman edged Lyle Brown 50-49 for the State Championship.

    The three veterans who failed to qualify for the World Tournament were WIlliam P. Yocum, E. R. Baker and C. A. Benedict. Future stars who failed to qualify were Robert Tomkins, Ted Harlan, Russell Butterfield, Clarence Barton, Ralph Maylahn, Harry Henn and his son, Bill. (Maylahn would get his chance in 1972. Bill Henn would have to wait until 1973 before qualifying for the big show.)

    In the championship field were 14 veterans. They were T. Allen, Zimmerman, Isais, Jones, I. Allen, Lyle Brown (for the first time since 1922), Dean Brown, Elmerson, Griggs, Rose, Dahlene, Bennett, Peterson, Maxwell, and Steinmann. Outstanding rookies were Bales, Sebek (the first man in Ohio to average 80 percent in a State Tournament, which he did in '46), Somerhalder and Henson (probably the greatest pitcher in the history of Virginia). Rookies who were just beginning their magic journey into the top 100 of all time were Gandy, Harris, Kraft, Paxton, Packham, Hosier and Dale Dixon. Dale would pitch an unbelievable 693 matches in championship play which is good for number two of all time in that particular category.

    Saturday in the opening round of the tournament, Allen was upset, by Lyle Brown, 51-41. Also on that day, Zimmerman set a new World Tournament record of 14 consecutive doubles only to have Allen break this shortly afterward with 15. At the end of the day's play, only Jones (7-0), Isais (6-0), and Zimmerman (6-0) remained undefeated. Jones and Bennett tied the record for 10 consecutive 4 deads. Zimmerman had the percentage game of the day, 93.1 percent, tossing 54 of 58 against Robinson. First day leading averages were Zimmerman (84.5 percent), Isais (83 percent), Jones (82 percent), and Allen (82 percent).

    On Sunday, the first game in World Tournament history occurred where both men pitched over 85 percent. Before we get to this Zimmerman-Allen confrontation, let it be mentioned that earlier in the day Isais had 15 straight doubles and Lyle Brown shortly afterward had 17 straight. In the big game, Zimmerman started right-off with 18 straight doubles, leading 21-0.

    All other games stopped and the pitchers joined in with the crowd of 3,000 to watch this game being announced over the P.A. system. At 46 shoes the score stood 21-12. At 58 shoes it was 27-15. At 84 shoes Guy, leading 36-25, threw 14 more straight double only to have Ted Kill the last nine. At 154 shoes Guy led 48-41. Then end came at 164 shoes with Allen winning, 50-48. Each man pitched 145 ringers for 88.4 percent. At the end of Sunday the leader were Isais (18-0), Allen (17-1), Zimmerman (17-1), Jones (16-2), and Ira Allen (16-2). Ted Allen had the high game for the day, 95.8 percent, while shellacking Hosier 50-4.

    Monday highlights included Isais, pitching poorly, losing to Gandy and Jones. Jones puckered up in his match with Ted Allen. With Jones leading 49-46, Allen missed both shoes. Jones, only needing one point, also missed both; Allen scoring the point. Allen threw a double next pitch, winning 50-49. Zimmerman squandered a 42-14 lead on Isais, blowing many opportunities while losing 50-48. After Monday's play, the learders were Ted Allen (25-1), Isais (24-1), Zimmerman (24-2), Jones (22-4), and Ira Allen (22-4). At this point in the event 41 games over 85 percent were pitched with nine game over 90 percent pitched.

    Tuesday saw Isais beat Allen, 50-38. This created the first, and only time, in World Tournament history that three men were tied at the end of the round robin competition. Before the tournament began, the officers almost decided to settle position ties by ringer percentage, which would have given Guy Zimmerman the title.

    The playoff began immediately. Allen beat Zimmerman two straight, 50-25 and 50-38. In the second game Allen had 130 ringers of 148 shoes for 87.8 percent while Guy had 127 ringers for 85.8 percent. Zimmerman the beat Isais two straight, 50-28 and 50-36. In the second game Guy had 114 ringers of 128 shoes for 89.1 percent while Fernando had 110 ringers fro 85.8 percent. Darkness suspended playoffs. Wednesday, Allen ended it all by beating Isais, 50-47 and 50-36.

    What amazing performances, considering it rained every day of the tournament. Each day the courts were doused with gasoline and set afire to dry the courts so play could continue.


1940 World Tournament Des Moines, Iowa - Aug, 24-27, 1940
Qual. W. L.    R. Sp. Pct.
1. Ted Allen* Boulder, Colo. D.C. 29 2 2187 2642 82.8
2. Guy Zimmerman Sac City, Iowa 521 29 2 1884 2188 86.1
3. Fernando Isais Mexico City, Mexico 532 29 2 1923 2330 82.5
4. "Casey" Jones Waukesha, Wis. 526 25 6 2043 2538 80.5
5. Alvin Gandy Topeka, Kansas 485 23 8 1929 2464 78.3
6. Ira Allen Fresno, Calif 526 23 8 1896 2438 77.8
7. Robert Bales Kansas City, Mo. 496 23 8 1933 2510 77.0
8. Lyle Brown Des Moines 489 23 8 1873 2454 76.3
9. John Sebek Canton, Ohio 504 21 10 1992 2574 77.4
10. Dean Brown Los Angeles, Cal. 510 19 12 1994 2522 79.1
11. Sidney Harris Minden, Nebraska 498 19 12 1765 2284 77.3
12. "Sam" Somerhalder Guide Rock, Kansas 492 19 12 1858 2444 76.0
13. Harvey Elmerson Milwaukee, Wis. 488 19 12 1704 2308 73.8
14. Ellis Griggs Plaineville, Ill. 504 18 13 1836 2472 74.3
15. Dale Dixon Des Moines, Iowa 515 18 13 1665 2308 72.1
16. Lee Rose Detroit, Mich. 486 14 17 1716 2318 74.0
17. Alvin Dahlene Lawrence, Kansas 490 14 17 1704 2372 71.8
18. Ronald Kraft LeCompton, Kansas 505 14 17 1638 2290 71.5
19. John Paxton Fairfield, Iowa 491 13 18 1514 2272 66.6
20. Eddie Packham Des Moines, Iowa 486 12 19 1531 2198 70.0
21. Joe Bennett Deer Creek Ill. 471 11 20 1608 2314 69.4
22. Clayton Henson Arlington, Va. 513 11 20 1500 2166 69.3
23. Joe Dubis Peoria, Ill. 452 11 20 1433 2152 66.6
24. Irwin Hosier South Gate, Cal. 469 10 21 1645 2388 68.9
25. Nels Peterson Varna, Ill. 475 10 21 1333 2004 66.5
26. Thorsten Madsen Good Thunder, Minn. 474 8 23 1338 2046 65.4
27. Gaylord Peterson Jeffers, Minn. 464 7 24 1405 2148 65.4
28. Wilbert Steinkamp St. Louis, Mo. 482 7 24 1158 1874 61.8
29. Howard Robinson Nebraska City, Neb. 476 6 25 1408 2146 65.6
30. W. O. Maxwell Hicksville, Ohio 464 6 25 1296 2040 63.5
31. "Lefty" Steinmann St. Louis, Mo. 461 5 26 1201 1950 61.6
32. Wellington Taylor Grand River, Iowa Forfeited All Games