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1968 World Tournament
Keene, N.H. - July 27-Aug. 6, 1968

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:

1968 World Tournament

This year the N.H.P.A. made a return trip to the courts with the wondrous clay at Keene, New Hampshire. In 1967 only five 90 percent games were tossed in Fargo, North Dakota. Many complaints dwelt on the subject of the clay's conditioning. Greenville in 1964 had 39 ninety percenters; Keene in 1965 had 44; and at Murray in 1966, Curt Day alone had seven!

Indiana gray clay is considered the best in the world, but Keene has a strong argument against this. Its brownish clay, when conditioned properly, can be lightly touched anywhere in the box and all the clay seems to quiver like jelly. The year 1968 would have 40 games over 90 percent, 114 more over 85 percent, and a record setting 268 other games over 80 percent. Thirty-five men would pitch at least one 80 percent game, 28 would have at least one over 85 percent, and 14 different pitchers would have at least one 90 percent game. Whether it was the clay or the Keene atmosphere, these courts were record setters. The 1965 World Champion, Elmer Hohl, went absolutely berserk qualifying. Perhaps remembering his prior success in Keene, or whatever the reason, Elmer set a new world record. Elmer fired a near perfect 200 shoes for an unbelievable total of 572 points! This was just 28 points shy of the maximum 600 points and is a record that still stands.

Seven rookies made this field. Ron Kuchcinski joined two others of his family. Not since the Jacksons did anyone family have three men in the championship class. Young Canadian Ross Stevenson, a graduate of the Junior Division, would be impressive in his only appearance. Also appearing for their only time as yet were Del Wright, Don Kaiser and Henry Bourgeois. Henry, to this date, is the only man from Rhode Island to qualify for the championships. John Rademacher would eventually make the Top 50 of all time as well as an N.H.P.A. vice presidency. Clair Bruce was now started on the road to the Top 100 of all time. Jim Knisley would be headed for the Top 25 of all time.

After seven games, rookie Stevenson, Steinfeldt, Hohl, and defending World Champion Dan Kuchcinski were all undefeated. Tied with 6-1 records were Griggs, Schneider, Reno, and rookie Knisley. Young Jim fell to Maddox, 53-35. Reno was surprised by Knisley, 50-41. Schneider was taken by Steinfeldt, 52-40. Griggs dropped a 51-27 decision to Martin. Opening day saw a number of 90 percent games. Hohl (92.8 percent) smeared Rademacher, 51-9. In a great match which lasted 162 shoes, Steinfeldt (90.1 percent) surpassed a gallant Rademacher (87.0 percent), 51-39. Reno (90.3 percent) blitzed Fowler, 52-12 and later hit 91.6 percent while trouncing Wright, 52-15. In the opening round Schneider (90 percent) slammed 1962 World Champion Focht, 52-12. Later Schneider walloped fellow Californian Simmons, 53-7 with a 91.6 percent. Rookie Stevenson (93.9 percent) rushed past Henton, 51-12. Griggs (92.0 percent) manhandled Maddox, 50-4! Ron Kuchcinski (91.4 percent) trampled Craig, 51-11.

After 14 games only Dan Kuchcinski and Hohl were still without defeat. Elmer had not yet been seriously challenged. Dan won five games with his opponent scoring over 40 points. Alone at 13-1 was Steinfeldt. Carl was bumped by Anthony, 50-37. At 12-2 were Stevenson, Schneider, and Martin. Ross was downed by Rademacher, 50-42 and Knisley, 52-25. Schneider was tripped by Vogel, 52-43. Tied at 11-3 were Zadroga, Griggs, and Reno. Harold suffered losses to Schneider, 52-32 and Stinson, 52-41. Griggs was shaded by Dan Kuchcinski, 52-46 and Zadroga, 51-43. Al was beaten by Rogers, 50-39. Martin (94.1 percent) was forced to 118 shoes to subdue Solomon, 51-19. Zadroga (90.6 percent) pounded Dixon, 54-12. Solomon (90.6 percent) whipped Kabel, 52-24. Elmer Hohl was in a class by himself this day. Elmer (92.4 percent) flattened Schriver, 52-16. Next match, Elmer handled stubborn rookie Knisley, 51-25 with a 91 percent. In game 14, this greatest Canadian pitcher of all time met Wes Kuchcinski, who was in the midst of a 19 game losing streak, the longest of the entire tournament. In a match which lasted but 30 shoes, Elmer Hohl pitched the second perfect game in World Tournament history! With this 51-0 victory, Elmer joined Guy Zimmerman on this unique list.

After 21 games, Hohl was now sole leader while staying spotless. Dan Kuchcinski dropped a 50-44 squeaker to Stinson in game 15 for his only loss. At 19-2 were Steinfeldt and Martin. In a major upset, Carl was given a terrible 52-21 licking by Stan Manker, his second loss to an Ohioan. At 17-4 were Stevenson, Reno, and Knisley. Stevenson fell to Rademacher, 50-42 and bowed to Knisley, 52-25. Reno was nipped by Rademacher, 50-49 in 136 shoes; 84.6 percent not quite being enough. Knisley, while extending his winning streak to nine, had a high of 92.4 percent while thumping the unlucky Wes Kuchcinski, 55 10. Baker (90.4 percent) warmed up Wright, 50-4. Schneider (90.8 percent) spanked Solomon, 51-6. Reno (90.0 percent) pummeled Kaiser, 52-7. Martin (91.2 percent) trundled Ron Kuchcinski, 52-21. Dan Kuchcinski (90.7 percent) scorched Fowler, 50-11. Elmer Hohl continued his sensational pitching. In game 15, Elmer stomped Dixon, 51-16

with a 90.9 percent. In game 16, Hohl squelched Fowler, 50-15 with a 92.8 percent thereby joining Toole and Day as men who pitched three straight 90 percent games. Elmer rocked 1962 World Champion, Paul Focht, 52-10 with 94.2 percent. Elmer finished the day with Vogel, winning by a lopsided 53-8 while pitching 91.7 percent. In 21 games, Elmer Hohl was yet to be tested!

After 28 games, Elmer Hohl was still undefeated and in full command. Tied at a distant second were Steinfeldt and Dan Kuchcinski at 25-3. Carl lost to another Ohioan, Knisley this time, 50-22. Steinfeldt, in his match with Ohio's Wilbur Kabel, eked out a 50-49 win in 128 shoes. In game 27, Dan was nosed by Baker, 50-48 in 126 shoes. In game 28, Dan was upended by the always dangerous Maddox, 52-43 in 110 shoes. At 24-4 were Martin and Knisley. Ray had a 15 game winning streak ended by Knisley, 53-34. Jim had now won 16 in a row and the rookie was making a terrific stretch run. Steinfeldt drilled Craig, 52-9 with 91.6 percent. Craig, as history shows, had that something special that brought out the best in other people. Martin (90.5 percent) stymied Craig, 52-17. Ray also hog tied Stevenson, 52-15 with a 92.1 percent. Hohl in game 22 with a 93.4 percent smoked Manker, 51-9. In game 23, Elmer tossed a 92.5 percent while breezing past Baker, 50-12. Elmer had once again pitched three consecutive 90 percent games! The only time in World Tournament history that a man has done this twice in the same year. Later Elmer burned Griggs, 52-12 with a 90 percent.
The final day in game 29, all contenders won. In game 30, rookie Knisley threw a sparkling 92.2 percent while thumping Craig, 51-21. Meanwhile, Hohl rumbled over fellow Canadian Stevenson, 52-8 with a 94.2 percent. Elsewhere, Ohioan Paul Focht mastered Steinfeldt, 5330. Elmer Hohl, 30-0 and staring the final-day-jinx straight in the eye, would now have to run a super gauntlet to become the eighth man in history to go undefeated! In game 31 Elmer personally eliminated Ray Martin, 51-35 in 126 shoes. In game 32 Elmer personally eliminated Steinfeldt in a serious challenge, reminiscent of 1964 when they set the record of 15 consecutive four deads. In this 1968 magnificent 144 shoe showdown, Carl pitched 125 ringers for 86.8 percent. Elmer had 127 ringers for 88.2 percent, winning 50-44. Prior to this match, only Wilbur Kabel with 45 breached the 40 point barrier (or king's row as some refer to the 40's) against Hohl. Knisley was now also mathematically eliminated. Dan Kuchcinski (90.9 percent) kept his slim chances alive by bombing Zadroga, 52-9. Hohl was now assured of at least a tie.

In game 33, Elmer Hohl became World Champion for the second time by beating the 1961 and 1964 champ, Harold Reno, 55-24 in 104 shoes. Kuchcinski beat Steinfeldt, 52-36. In game 34, Hohl was forced to 132 shoes to down Zadroga, 51-26. Martin edged Kuchcinski, 50-47. Steinfeldt suffered one of his worst beatings to Reno, 52-7 as his Ohio jinx continued. In game 35, Focht blazed for 93.4 percent wiping out Vogel, 52-3. Earlier Paul had 90.4 percent while taking Maddox, 5225. Meanwhile Knisley, who did not get rookie of the year honors, had won his 23rd straight game to clinch second place. Perhaps Jim looked so much like a veteran that the voters forgot he was a rookie.

In 1967 Kuchcinski's unbeaten streak was stopped by Hohl on the final day. Therefore, it was fitting that they met in the final match of 1968. Dan pitched 112 ringers in 132 shoes for 84.8 percent. Still, Dan scored only 22 points as Elmer had 121 ringers for 91.6 percent, concluding the greatest single year performance in World Tournament history!

Elmer Hohl scaled the heights to man's greatest horseshoe pitching achievement. The great Canadian broke the qualifying record; pitched three consecutive 90 percent games, not once but twice; and equalled Casey Jones' 1948 record of thirteen 90 percent games, although it took Elmer four more games than Jones. This superstar also broke Casey's record of highest percentage for a complete tournament by 88.1578 percent, a phenomenal accomplishment. (This World Record has always been recorded as 88.5 percent, but 11 years later this has been corrected. The old ringer count is correct, but the old shoes pitched is not. The old figure of 2951 is incorrect. Shoes pitched cannot total to an uneven number. The Hohl-Stinson match went 110 shoes instead of 100 as Frank's historic copy proves. After carefully adding the shoes pitched column, the correct total is 2964.) Elmer's performance in 1968 stands as a shining jewel, especially to those who consider Elmer Hohl the greatest pitcher of all time!


1968 World Tournament Keene, N.H. - July 27-Aug. 6, 1968
QualW.L.R.Sp.Pet.
1. Elmer Hohl Wellesley, Ont. Can. 572 35 0 2613 2964 88.2
2. Jim Knisley Bremen, Ohio 525 31 4 2609 3148 82.9
3. Dan Kuchcinski Erie, Pa. D.C. 30 5 2764 3358 82.3
4. Ray Martin Philo, Ill. 557 29 6 2733 3246 84.2
5. Carl Steinfeldt Rochester, N.Y. 560 28 7 2729 3294 82.8
6. Paul Focht Dayton, Ohio 527 25 10 2591 3164 81.9
7. Harold Reno Sabina, Ohio 544 25 10 2691 3320 81.1
8. Gerald Schneider Pico Rivera, Cal. 516 24 11 2402 2998 80.1
9. Ross Stevenson Baden, Ont., Can. 531 23 12 2361 3034 77.8
10. Ellis Griggs Plainville, Ill. 520 22 13 2324 2992 77.7
11. Al Zadroga Elizabeth, Pa. 544 22 13 2449 3160 77.5
12. John Rademacher Plant City, Fla. 506 21 14 2869 3586 80.0
13. Frank Stinson Minneapolis, Minn. 503 21 14 2620 3300 79.4
14. Dave Baker Wentworth, Mo. 520 20 15 2515 3208 78.4
15. Ron Simmons Downey, Cal. 536 19 16 2306 3048 75.7
16. Ralph Maddox Poca, West Virginia 536 18 17 2707 3424 79.1
17. Jim Solomon Uniontown, Pa. 523 17 18 2468 3192 77.3
18. Hugh Rogers Cedar Falls, Iowa 500 17 18 2367 3120 75.9
19. Glen Henton Maquoketa, Iowa 500 16 19 2570 3244 79.2
20. Stan Manker Martinsville, Ohio 518 16 19 2354 3134 75.1
21. Howard Shriver Wadestown, W. Va. 504 15 20 2542 3268 77.8
22. Roger Vogel Manito, Ill. 527 15 20 2406 3126 77.0
23. Marvin Craig Parker, Ind. 511 15 20 2326 3054 76.2
24. Harold Anthony Arcanum, Ohio 524 15 20 2360 3120 75.6
25. Wilbur Kabel New Madison, Ohio 533 14 21 2488 3210 77.5
26. Ron Kuchcinski Erie, Pa. 500 14 21 2189 2930 74.7
27. Floyd Fowler Greencaslte, Ind. 509 14 21 2254 3020 74.6
28. Steve Fenicchia Rochester, N.Y. 516 11 24 2294 3046 75.3
29. Del Wright Columbia City, Ind. 509 11 24 2021 2808 72.0
30. Dale Dixon Des Moines, Iowa 499 10 25 2098 2904 72.2
31. Ted Allen Boulder, Colo. 509 10 25 2057 2882 71.4
32. Karl Van Sant Cayuga, Ind. 522 9 26 2261 3046 74.2
33. Wesley Kuchcinski Erie, Pa. 507 6 29 2100 2960 70.9
34. Don Kaiser Clayton, Mich. 595 5 30 1695 2558 66.3
35. Clair Bruce New Wilmington, Pa. 499 4 31 1955 2788 70.1
36. Henry Bourgeois W. Barrington, R.I. 513 3 32 1552 2402 64.6