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1969 World Tournament
Erie, Pa. - July 26 - Aug. 5, 1969

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:

1969 World Tournament This year presented the N.H.P.A. with the golden opportunity to have one of the largest crowds ever. The N.H.P.A. had going for it the super drawing card of Elmer Hohl, the unstoppable human ringer machine, who just one year ago shattered unbelievable records. Another tremendous draw would be hometown hero, 1967 World Champion Dan Kuchcinski, the top qualifier with a near record 569 points. Dan would be the sentimental favorite to regain his lost title. This was only the second time in history that a present or past champion would have the honor and privilege of pitching for the title in his own home town. The first time was in 1920 when George May packed them in at Akron.

Other forces to be reckoned with were 1966 World Champion Curt Day, 1962 World Champion Paul Focht, and ten time World Champion Ted Allen. Also present were State Champions Roy Smith, Merlin Potts, and Floyd Toole. Other State Champions present were Paglarini, who won his title from Stinson; Shriver, who won from Mad dox; Schneider, who won his from Don Titcomb, 1960 World Champion; Knisley, 1968 World runner-up, who won his from 1961 and 1964 World Champion Harold Reno; and rookie Oscar Engle who won from Dan Kuchcinski. Even the rain could not keep the fans and four television stations away! The only major drawback to the whole tournament was the lack of enough bleachers to accommodate the mighty throng. The host city did not heed the forewarning of the N.H.P.A. as to this surely happening. Erie has long been a hotbed of horseshoe pitching.

The five rookies in the field were the aforementioned Engle; Bob Dean; Anthony Ginger Natalie, a former state champ; Dale Carson, the perennial dominant force in Maryland; and Clyde Martz, who would someday make the all-time top 100.

After seven games the undefeated leaders were Stinson, Day, Kuchcinski, and Hohl. Stinson (86.1 percent) battled Toole for 144 shoes before winning, 52-44. Frank was making a habit of getting out of the gate fast. Day (95.3 percent) pounced on Bruce, 52-9. Kuchcinski (90.0 percent) pulverized Schneider, 52-7. Hohl (91.7 percent) sailed through Jensen, 50-3. Knotted at 6-1 were Knisley, Zadroga, and Martin. Knisley had his winning streak stopped at 26 by Engle, 55-44. Zadroga lost a hard fought 50-48 match to Potts in 126 shoes. Glen Riffle struck a blow for the underdog by courageously holding off Ray Martin, 51-48. Potts took Kuchcinski to 126 shoes before losing, 55-37. Carson edged Fenicchia, 50-49 in 132 shoes. Bellman nipped Carson, 55-49 in 138 shoes. Ralph Maddox was marathon man for the set. In a great match, Ralph pitched 86.3 percent against Martin, only to lose 51-48 as Ray tossed 86.9 percent for 168 shoes. Ralph later had 89.2 percent for 158 shoes to Focht's 85.4 percent in a 50-34 win. For the first six games, Ralph averaged 85.3 percent and already had three losses!

After 14 games Day, Kuchcinski, and Hohl were still unbeaten. Curt (90 percent) blistered Ron Kuchcinski, 54-13 and Potts, 52-14. Danny (91.0 percent) smashed Rime, 51-19. Elmer, while extending his winning streak to 50, jumped on Fenicchia, 52-8. Elmer's streak of 44 straight games over 80 percent ended while topping Simmons, 51-34. Alone at 13-1 was Martin. Ray trimmed Knisley, 52-41 in 148 shoes, as Jim proceeded to lose five in a row. Alone at 12-2 was Stinson. Frank was tripped by Bellman, 50-39 and was edged by Anthony, 50-49. Zadroga was 11-3. Al was clipped by Rime, 51-42 and by Martz, 50-23. In a long, exciting match, Engle nipped Fenicchia, 54-49 in 132 shoes. Anthony outlasted Bruce, 50-49 in 136 shoes. Ray Martin stayed busy for these seven games. Martin (95.3 percent) demolished Simmons, 516. Ray hit 92.8 percent for 112 shoes to handle a stubborn Paglarini, 51-20. Merlin Potts hit 87.3 percent for 158 shoes only to be creamed 51-27 by Martin who pitched 93 percent!

After 21 games Day, Hohl and Kuchcinski were still perfect. Martin was now 19-2. Stinson was 17-4. This set had some very interesting matches. Joe Carmack lost to Allen, 52-49 in 126 shoes. Solomon fell to Engle, 50-44 in 134 shoes. Rime took the measure of Knisley, 51-47 in 124 shoes. Schneider had to pitch 88.4 percent for 138 shoes to turn back Kabel, 50-31. Jerry later bested Solomon, 50-44 in 134 shoes. After losing to Schneider, Kabel was outpitched in the next game by Smith, 51-32, also in 138 shoes. These two games Wilbur pitched 83.3 percent and 84.1 percent and couldn't make the king row. Wilbur (90.5 percent) later got his pound of flesh at the expense of Rime, 51-16. Bruce beat Zadroga, 50-46 in 134 shoes. Clair later stroked 87.3 percent for 142 shoes while conquering Focht, 51-46; Paul having 85.3 percent. Maddox (90 percent) wasted Carmack, 52-14. Smith (90.3 per-cent) roasted Carson, 51-9,. Stinson fell to Smith, 50-26 and to Danny, 52-38. Day put away Martin, 54-37 in 122 shoes, Martin (90.9 percent) blitzed Shriver, 54-19. After losing to Day, Ray (92.8 percent) bombed Williams, 51-3. Ray (92.0 percent) later crushed Focht, 52-19. Hohl's winning streak had now reached 57! Elmer (90.9 percent) hammered Rime, 51-16. Next it was Williams, 53-5, as Elmer fired 90 percent. Later Elmer had 98 of 104 shoes for 94.2 percent to whip Bellman, 50-10. Danny (91.4 percent) trounced Stout, 51-11. Later Dan (90.7 percent) mangled Dean, 53-6. Against the three leaders, 40 points were a rarity. Natalie scored 42 on Day, Rademacher got to 40 on Hohl, and nobody as yet had done it on Kuchcinski.

After 28 games only Kuchcinski stayed untouched. Day and Hohl were now each 27-1. Martin was 25-3 with Stinson at 23-5. In game 28, Day pitched 84.0 percent for 144 shoes, but Al Zadroga had 84.7 percent in this 51-43 upset! Elmer Hohl, who was closing in on Isais' record of 69 victories, saw his string stopped at 61! If a string has to end it is only right to have it halted in this spectacular manner. In what was the second longest match in history, Elmer ironically hooked up with the man who had lost the longest game in history - Ray Martin. This was Ray's fourth marathon game of the tournament. Elmer had 164 ringer in 186 shoes for 88.1 percent and still lost! Ray pitched 167 ringers for 89.7 percent for the 52-46 victory. Elmer lost in a blaze of glory! Dan still permitted no one to breach the 40 point barrier! Martin lost to Danny, 50-29. Stinson was dropped by Hohl, 52-35. A number of other fine matches were nearly lost in the shume. Jack Stout was downed by Maddox, 50-34 in 126 shoes. Steve Fenicchia pitched 90 percent while shocking Paul Focht, 52-22. Potts lost a fine match to Hohl, 50-40 in 122 shoes. Bruce topped Bellman, 52-44 in 126 shoes. Day (92.8 percent) jarred Smith, 51-7.

Before we focus in on the contenders, we will cover some of the other fine matches. Schneider (92.3 percent) snuffed Dean, 52-15. Maddox (91.3 percent) smothered Ron Kuchcinski, 53-6. Now for the leaders. Game 29 saw Stinson lose to Natalie, 50-46. In game 30, Hohl was forced to pitch 89.5 percent to subdue Engle, 55-39 in 134 shoes. Day, perhaps looking ahead, was ambushed by a mathematically eliminated Stinson, 50-31. Martin escaped Solomon, 50-45. In game 31, Martin was nailed by Zadroga, 52-30. In a showdown, Day pitched 85.9 percent for 142 shoes against Kuchcinski and only managed to be the first to score 40 points. In this 50-40 key match, Dan was waiting for Curt with 88.7 percent. In round 32, Day (91.5 percent) ripped Solomon, 52-16. Ray Martin was now eliminated. In game 33, Martin was upset by Engle, 50-44 in 128 shoes. Day, although beating Kabel, 5131, was now eliminated. Hohl (90.3 percent) slaughtered Focht, 50-7. In game 34, Elmer prepared himself for the final game with Kuchcinski; gathering up steam with 92.3 percent in a 52-21 thumping of Day. In game 35 , Martin (90.0 percent) cracked Carson, 52-22 and was finished early enough to see the final action of "The Game".

Dan Kuchcinski met Elmer Hohl in the most important game of the year. With electricity in the air, these two gathered for a war. The in gredients of this match much resembled the 1926 playoff match of Jackson and Mossman: Youth versus Age. As in that year, people were packed everywhere, perched in trees and even standing on cars to get a good view of the confrontation. In 1967, Elmer ruined Dan's perfect record and in 1968 Dan's last loss was to Elmer. Elmer had won 69 of his last 70 matches and pitched over 88 percent in his only loss. Hohl hit 118 ringers in 140 shoes for 84.2 opercent, but youth would not be denied as Dan threw 120 ringers for 85.7 percent in this 50-40 championship victory. Danny Kuchcinski had become the ninth World Champion to go undefeated! This is the only time in the 36 man round robin that the World Champion had gone undefeated two consecutive years! Dan joined Putt Mossman as the only men to win two World Titles before the age of21! Dan Kuchcinski, although outpercentaged by Hohl, Martin, and Day, became the only man in the history of horseshoe pitching to win the World Championship while pitching before the people in his own hometown!


1969 World Tournament Erie, Pa. - July 26 - Aug. 5, 1969
Qual. W.L.R.Sp. Pet.
1. Danny Kuchcinski Erie, Pa. 569 35 0 2400 2832 84.7
2. Elmer Hohl Wellesley, Ont., Can. D.C. 33 2 2602 3012 86.4
3. Ray Martin Philo, Ill. 537 30 5 2908 3390 85.8
4. Curt Day Frankfort, Ind. 548 30 5 2440 2860 85.3
5. Roy Smith Muskegon, Mich 512 28 7 2264 2858 79.2
6. Frank Stinson Minneapolis, Minn. 531 27 8 2477 3122 79.3
7. Al Zadroga Elizabeth, Pa. 532 24 11 2559 3214 79.6
8. Ralph Maddox Poca, West Viginia 523 23 12 2432 3032 80.2
9. Paul Focht Dayton, Ohio 555 23 12 2571 3220 79.8
10. Clair Bruce New Wilmington, Pa. 517 23 12 2506 3176 78.9
11. Jim Knisley Bremen, Ohio 530 23 12 2377 3042 78.1
12. Oscar Engle Pittsburgh, Pa. 333 22 13 2519 3184 79.1
13. Clyde Martz Pittsburgh, Pa. 529 21 14 2185 2890 75.6
14. Clarence Bellman Bremen, Ind. 510 20 15 2510 3180 78.9
15. Ted Allen Boulder, Colo 533 20 15 2207 2924 75.5
16. Harold Anthony Arcanum, Ohio 503 20 15 2252 2984 75.5
17. Merlin Potts Leonardville, Kansas 523 17 18 2381 3128 76.1
18. Stan Manker Martinsville, Ohio 507 17 18 2137 2886 74.0
19. Wilbur Kabel New Madison, Ohio 537 16 19 2420 3118 77.6
20. Steve Fenicchia Rochester, N.Y. 520 16 19 2263 2992 75.6
21. Jerry Schneider Rosemead, Cal. 509 15 20 2206 2930 75.3
22. Floyd Toole Little Rock, Ark. 502 14 21 2310 3026 76.3
23. Glenn Rime Dayton, Ohio 510 14 21 2148 2951 72.8
24. Jim Solomon Uniontown, Pa. 538 13 22 2321 3060 75.8
25. Dale Carson Baltimore, Md. 535 13 22 2004 2790 71.8
26. Jack Stout Melrose Park, Ill. 516 12 23 2189 2942 74.4
27. John Rademacher Plant City, Fla. 505 12 23 2128 2918 72.9
28. Howard Shriver Wadestown, W. Va. 512 11 24 1897 2694 70.4
29. Ginger Natalie Rochester, N.Y. 502 10 25 2038 2834 71.9
30. Ronnie Simmons Norwalk, Cal. 504 8 27 2073 2832 73.2
31. Joe Carmack Lecoma, Mo. 512 8 27 2113 2938 71.9
32. Ron Kuchcinski Erie, Pa. 524 8 27 1833 2616 70.1
33. Andy Paglarini Hibbing, Minn. 504 7 28 2013 2848 70.7
34. Bob Williams Cement City, Mich. 515 7 28 1748 2564 68.2
35. Bob Dean McGaheysville, Va. 511 5 30 1948 2800 69.6
36. Ken Jensen St. Joseph, Mich. 505 5 30 1626 2456 66.2