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1976 World Tournament
Levittown, Pa. – July 30–Aug. 8, 1976



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:

It was the year of the bicentennial, and the place to be was as close as possible to the famed city of Philadelphia. This year the N.H.P.A. over–came a court injunction obtained by an unenlightened group of citizens in the host city. After various community leaders unofficially visited the site and learned of the fine, decent people involved within the N.H.P.A., apologies were quickly extended. The N.H.P.A. has never been able to financially afford to publicize and promote the great sport of horseshoe pitching, so wrong impressions are easily surmised.

This event would expand to 48 in the Championship Class. Two groups of 24 men were determined by qualifying scores. Each group would pitch 23 games, then the top 12 of Group I would advance to play Group II's top 12. The lesser 12 of each group would likewise play each other. Each individual win-loss record was to be carried over and counted toward the final standings. There were 18 rookies in this field, eight in Group I and 10 in Group II. Those in their only championship appearance thus far were Plute, Clippinger, Thibeault, Miller, Rainbow, Brown, Tobey, Cournoyer, Bechtel, Herfurth, Powers, Franke, and Donnie Roberts. Those rookies who would return were Graham, Bertrand, Harris, Beshore, and Kugler.

After six games the unbeaten leaders in Group I were Vogel, Potts, Knisley, Steinfeldt, and defending champion Hohl. At 5-1 were Graham, Walker, Solomon, and Henton. Graham was edged by Bruce, 50–44. Walker was tripped by rookie Bertrand, 51–41. Solomon was upset by Porter, 50–48. Henton was shocked by Over, 50–49. Thibeault, one of Quebec's two first-ever championship qualifiers, extended Hohl to 124 shoes before bowing, 50–25. Hard luck Roseberry lost to Rainbow, 52–49 and Vogel, 52–48. Schultz went down to Steinfeldt, 50–40 in 120 shoes. Potts (92 percent) creamed Miller, 55–7. Knisley (90.9 percent) squashed Thibeault, 52–9. Steinfeldt (93.5 percent) thrashed Bertrand, 54–13 and Over, 51–19 with 90.5 percent.

In Group II, the unbeaten leaders were Monday, Maddox, Dorney, Plute, West, Seibold, and Day. At 5-1 were Tyson and Zadroga. Tyson was nailed by Rime, 51-27. "Big AI" was stunned by Beshore, 50–32. Powers upset Copeland, 53-34. Bechtel upended Rioux, 52–49. Cournoyer, Quebec's other half, was edged by Tyson, 50-43; Harrison, 50–46; and Copeland, 52-44. Tobey lost a close 50-42 decision to Monday. Harris thumped Copeland, 50-18. Clippinger surprised Rioux, 50-35. Monday (88.5 percent) drilled Clippinger, 51-6. West (87.3 percent) clipped Rime, 50-31 in 118 shoes. Seibold (87.5 percent) ripped Dean, 51-7.

In Group I, after 12 games, the leaders were Potts, Knisley, Hohl, and Steinfeldt, all without a loss. At 11-1 were Walker, Vogel, and Henton. Vogel was handed his first loss by Schultz, 51-47. Alone at 10–2 was Solomon flashing his 1965 form. Herfurth, the N.H.P.A. Hall of Fame Chairman, hit 79.1 percent, his best of the meet, while subduing Bertrand, 50-41. Levi Miller, after 10 straight losses, captured his first victory, 51-38, over Rainbow. Gary Roberts slaughtered Fahey, 51-13. Bruce was dumped by Potts, 51-27 in 120 shoes. Over topped Fahey, 52-35. Thibeault, after losing the first eight, handled Rainbow, 50-37. Bertrand beat Graham, 51-46. Knisley (92.9 percent) pummeled Porter, 50-6. Thibeault upset Solomon, 50-45. Hohl (90 percent) bombed Brown, 53-3. Henton (92.9 percent) buried Brown, 51-1 and then shelled Killgore, 50-16 with a 90.7 percent.

In Group II, unbeaten leaders were Monday, Dorney, West, Seibold, and Day. Together at 11-1 were Plute and Zadroga. Plute's lone loss was to Dean, 50-40. Tied at 10-2 were Copeland, Tyson, and Maddox. Art lost to Bechtel, 50-40. Ralph was tamed by Riffle, 52-27 and Rademacher, 50-31. Donnie Roberts, N.H.P.A. Secretary, almost got his first win, but lost to Harrison, 52-47. (In early 1973 while Donnie was the champion of Ohio, he was doing amazing feats, even pitching a perfect game. Many of us thought he would challenge for the World Title, but he failed to qualify. Ironically, after a finger injury destroyed his skills, he made the top class and was virtually defenseless.) Copeland defeated Dean, 50-46 in 126 shoes. Powers knocked off Rioux, 52-39. Rioux was tripped by Rademacher, 52-45. Monday shaded Riffle, 50 49. Dorney (90 percent) mangled Dean, 52-3. Seibold (92.0 percent) slaughtered Franke, 54-3.

In Group I, after 18 games, only Hohl remained without blemish. At 17-1 were Potts, Knisley, and Steinfeldt. Henton was alone with a 16-2 record. At 14-4 were Walker and Solomon. Walker fell to Fahey, 55-45; Solomon, 51-30; and Herfurth, 52-37. Solomon was taken by Knisley, 50-44 and Hohl, 50-17. Henton was dusted by Solomon, 53-29. Potts first defeat was to Solomon, 51-17. Knisley dropped his first to Graham, 51-38. Steinfeldt's single loss was to Solomon, 50-29. Jim, the spoiler of 1965, was at it again! Herfurth shocked Walker, 52-37. Brown surprised Schultz, 50-36. Earlier, Brown after losing his first 13 ambushed Gary Roberts, 52-42. Kugler nailed Bertrand, 50-38. Miller stung Bruce, 53-43. Gary Roberts pounded Bruce, 50-18. Thibeault had his eight game winning streak stopped by Roseberry, 50-28. Graham stunned Knisley, 51-38. Schultz kicked Bruce, 50-14. Killgore dominated Bertrand, 52-13. Vogel ran into murderers row and lost all six. Steinfeldt was pushed to 126 shoes before taking Roger, 50-48.

In Group II Seibold and Day remained perfect. Zadroga was alone at 17-1. Maddox lost a 50-46 decision to Plute and now stood 15-3. Knotted at 14-4 were Monday, Dorney, and West. Monday was axed by Tyson, 50-36; West, 50-19; Plute, 52-33; and Dorney, 52-31. Dorney, probably more known for his magnificent indoor facilities and his imitation of a cricket, was whacked four times. Ed's losses were to Maddox, 51-44; Zadroga, 55-39; Day (83.3 percent), 54-10; and Seibold, 52-13, as Mark fired 93.3 percent. Plute was chopped down by Zadroga, 50-27; Day, 53-23; and Seibold, 52-9, as Mark blazed for 92.3 percent. West was cast aside by Seibold, 50-31; Maddox, 51-43; Zadroga, 52-44; and Day, 52-36. No one had as yet breached the 40 point barrier on Day or Seibold. Henry Franke, the ancient one, after 14 straight losses topped Donnie Roberts, 50-42. Bechtel slaughtered Rademacher, 50-10. Cournoyer after 12 straight losses handled Roberts, 50-25 and then won his next five for a perfect day. Tobey lost his first 16 games, then upset Powers, 51-23. Harris won four straight, then lost to Bechtel, 50-46. Clippinger took Rademacher, 51-41. Rioux had a four game winning streak ended by Dorney, 52-15. Riffle won all six. Tyson won only a single game. Copeland lost all six, the toughest loss being to Monday, 51-45 in 126 shoes. Zadroga (95.8 percent) crushed Copeland, 55-1.

The final day of Group I and II play would produce a number of great match-ups pertinent to the pecking order. It must be remembered that in the finals, pitchers from the same group would not meet. This meant that many matches on this day would be tougher than most in the finals for the leaders.

In Group I, Rainbow upset Solomon, 54-26. Thibeault lost all five. Bertrand lost his final two matches, 55-23 to Schultz and 55-4 to Over, and thus missed the final 24. Fahey made it even though he lost the final game to Vogel, 52-33. Graham upset Vogel, 51-30. Joe Schultz won his last seven games to assure his spot. Killgore rallied by winning his last nine. Walker upended Potts, 50-45 in 120 shoes and Knisley, 50-28. Potts whipped Henton, 50-32 and Knisley, 52-39. Merlin was nosed by Hohl, 50-48 in 130 shoes. Knisley lost six of his last seven. Henton beat Hohl, 52-42 and Knisley, 50-35, but then lost to Steinfeldt, 51-41. Hohl, after Henton stopped his 22 game winning streak, was humbled by Steinfeldt, 52-24. Steinfeldt had won his last nine. The records of the Group I survivors were Steinfeldt, 22-1; Hohl, 21-2; Henton, 19-4; Potts, 19-4; Solomon, 18-5; Knisley, 17-6; Walker, 16-7; Vogel, 14-9; Killgore, 13-10; Schultz, 12-11; Graham, 12-11 and Fahey, 10-13.

In Group II, Donnie Roberts, after 18 consecutive losses, finally entered the victory column with a 52-40 conquest of Bechtel. Harrison finished with 12 straight losses. Serge Cournoyer won eight of his last 11, but it was too late. Harris won eight of his last 10, but also too late. Rioux lost his last five. Riffle just made it by ringer percent over Rioux. Tyson lost eight of his last 10, but survived. Copeland won four of his final five to make it. Ansil upset West, 51-39 and Dorney, 52-22. Rademacher finished with seven straight wins. Monday limped in with eight defeats in his final 13 games. Maddox was pitching better than he had for years. Dorney was very competitive. Raymond Plute was the big surprise of the event and came through with an outstanding performance, especially for an unknown rookie. Solomon had his act back together and was extremely dangerous. Zadroga was having a fine tournament. "Big AI" lost to Seibold, 52-38 and Day, 52-9 as Curt hurled 95 percent. In the feature match of the group play, Seibold and Day hooked up in an outstanding duel with Sports Illustrated looking on. Being a long time subscriber to SI, as undoubtedly many of you are, I can tell you SI hardly gave horseshoe pitching a boost by its subsequent article. But this match was a struggle of beauty even to their representatives. Curt held a 42-29 lead on Mark, but young Seibold rallied with 24 straight ringers to leave Curt stuck there. This match lasted 124 shoes. The records of the Group II survivors were Seibold, 23-0; Day, 22-1; Zadroga, 20-3; West, 17-6; Plute, 17-6; Dorney, 17-6; Maddox, 17-6; Monday, 15-8; Rademacher, 13-10; Tyson, 13-10; Copeland, 12-11 and Riffle, 11-12.

The consolation finals found "Sonny" Bertrand running wild. Sonny won 11 of 12 games and pitched over 80 percent five times. He had 86.2 percent against Donnie Roberts for his best effort. His lone loss was to Bechtel, 52-47. Roseberry was 9-3, losing to Harris, 51-36; Rioux, 51-33; and Clippinger, 52-29. Clippinger was also 9-3. He beat Gary Roberts, 54-44 in 104 shoes. Harold pitched two games over 80 percent. Bruce went 9-3, losing to Clippinger, 50-38; Franke, 50-34; and Rioux, 50-38. Miller was 9-3. Levi fell to Clippinger, 51-26; Tobey, 50-39; and Harrison, 51-44 in 108 shoes. Gary Roberts and Ken Kugler were each 8-4. Gary hammered Harris, 52-16 with 83.9 percent, his tournament best. Ken punished Harrison, 53-17 with 82.9 percent, his tournament best. Others with winning records at 7-5 were Rioux, Over, Thibeault, Beshore, Tobey, and Brown. Rioux (81.4 percent) defeated Thibeault, 52-34. Over outlasted Tobey, 51-39 in 136 shoes. Thibeault (85 percent) walloped Tobey, 51-12. Beshore (87.5 percent) smashed Thibeault, 50-10. Brown (82.4 percent) mastered Beshore, 50-25.

After six games of the finals, the leaders were Day and Steinfeldt (28-1), Seibold (27-2), Hohl (26-3), Zadroga (25-4), Solomon, Henton, and Potts (24-5). All others were now mathematically eliminated. Riffle upset Potts, 52-29 and Knisley, 52-44 in 122 shoes. Graham bushwhacked Maddox, 50-18 with 85.7 percent, his tournament high. Schultz upset West, 50-29 with 85.7 percent, his tournament best. Earlier, Joe had an eight game winning streak ended by Dorney, 51-23. Monday stopped a nine game losing skein by taking Schultz, 50-46. Killgore's 10 game winning streak was ended by Maddox, 52-42 in 122 shoes. Vogel stunned West, 50-40 in 126 shoes. Potts held off Rademacher, 50-48 in 134 shoes with 85.1 percent. Plute shocked Knisley, 51-35 and Hohl, 51-33. Solomon extended his win streak to nine games. Zadroga was upset by Schultz. Henton (91.1 percent) dazzled Riffle, 54-18. Day (94 percent) spanked Walker, 52-12. The big story of the evening was Mark Seibold becoming human. The dangerous Roger Vogel did a cobra in the basket number and abruptly halted Mark's perfect 27 game winning streak with a 51-36 victory in 120 shoes. Mark's 80 percent was not good enough. Walker, also always dangerous, bounced Mark, 51-44. To Mark's credit, he graciously took his defeats in stride like the polite gentleman he is.

On the final night, Dorney went 128 shoes, losing to Hohl, 52-42. Next Ed toppled Solomon, 50-47 in 144 shoes. In game 30, Zadroga was eliminated by Solomon, 50-45. Henton, although pitching 83.8 percent, was eliminated by Day, 52-46 in 142 shoes as Curt hit 85.9 percent. Hohl (84.1 percent) was hanging by a thread as West (87.3 percent) beat Elmer, 50-37 in 126 shoes. In game 31, Henton (90 percent), already preparing for next year, drubbed Dorney, 51-18. Hohl was eliminated by Zadroga, 50-34, so a new champion would be crowned. Only Day and Steinfeldt, each 30-1, plus Seibold, 29-2, could win. In game 32, Seibold (88.3 percent) tamed Henton (83.3 percent), 51-36 in 120 shoes. Day (86.3 percent) bested Solomon (82.5 percent), 52-35 in 126 shoes. Steinfeldt turned back West, 50-38. In game 33, Henton (90.5 percent) blasted Maddox, 50-22. Day escaped Knisley, 51-48. Seibold whipped Potts, 52-9. Zadroga busted a tight Steinfeldt, 50-32.

Day now led by one game over the other two contenders. In game 34, in a super match, Day (83.3 percent) was out pitched by Steinfeldt (84.9 percent) as Carl bested Curt, 51-44 in 126 shoes, thus creating a tie. Seibold met "Mr. Disaster" (A.K.A. Elmer Hohl) and fell, 50-26, as Elmer fired 88.7 percent. Game 35 would pit Steinfeldt against Seibold, while Hohl and Day were squaring off. An unbelievable finish! Seibold pitched 84.1 percent for 126 shoes, but to his regret so did Steinfeldt, as Carl eliminated Mark, 50-45. Curt hit 86.6 percent for 134 shoes as Day finally conquered Elmer, 50-39. Day and Steinfeldt were now dead even, creating the bicentennial playoff.

The '70's will probably be remembered as the playoff decade: 1972, 1973, and now 1976. Carl, a slight underdog, only had to beat legendary Curt Day three times in the same evening. Of course, this had never been done before. Still, Carl had some hope. One miracle had already taken place this year. In the Junior Division, unbeatable "Deadeye" Williams was given a hat trick by brother Jeffrey to be dethroned. Jeffrey only had to average 90 percent. Deadeye lost the last game while pitching 90 percent, the only time a 90 percent effort has ever lost. Walter Ray Jr. was pitching from the full 40 feet, as the men do, for the second straight year! Carl could also take consolation in the fact that Curt had never won a playoff either.

With the late hour crowd gathered, little realizing they were seeing Curt Day in his last World Tournament, the playoffs began. Day (89.2 percent) smoked Steinfeldt, 50-18. In the second game, Carl overcame Day by hitting 29 ringers out of 30 shoes, and the momentum shifted. Carl (84.8 percent) held on to win, 53-46 as Curt pitched 84.1 percent. In the third game, Carl with a sizzling 89.5 percent ran off with a 52-31 win, as Curt pitched 83.3 percent.

Carl Steinfeldt became the first man from the East to win the World Championship! It had taken Carl 23 years and 12 tournaments to realize his fondest dream! Carl had been bridesmaid twice (1964 and 1974) and now Carl was the groom. Carl joined Curt and Paul Focht as General Motors employees who have won the Championship. Perhaps General Motors will wake up someday and sponsor a major event.

Curt Day had ended a brilliant career of 20 years and 17 World Tournaments. His last 14, Curt averaged over 80 percent. For his career, Curt never finished out of the top ten and the last 13 years never lower than 5th. Curt, having been a bridesmaid five times himself, surely would understand 1976 World Champion Carl Steinfeldt's irrepressible joy.


1976 World Tournament Levittown, Pa. – July 30–Aug. 8, 1976
MENS DIVISION
World Tournament Summary


Qual  W. L. R. SP. Pct.
1. Carl Steinfeldt Rochester, N.Y. 541 33 2 2389 2894 82.6
2. Curt Day Frankfurt, Ind. 556 33 2 2309 2746 84.1
3. Mark Seibold Huntington, Ind. 538 31 4 2475 2914 84.9
4. Elmer Hohl Wellesley, Ont., Can. D.C. 29 6 2511 3014 83.3
5. Glen Henton Maquoketa, Iowa 529 29 6 2577 3130 82.3
6. Al Zadroga Elizabeth, Pa. 548 28 7 2209 2792 79.1
7. Bob West Scappoose, Ore. 511 25 10 2402 2989 80.4
8. Jim Solomon Uniontown, Pa. 514 25 10 2290 2916 78.5
9. Jim Knisley Bremen, Ohio 527 24 11 2315 2920 79.3
10. Merlin Potts Leonardville, Kansas 545 24 11 2408 3046 79.1
11. Ray Plute Warrensburg, Missouri 503 23 12 2026 2694 75.2
12. Roger Vogel Albuquerque, N.M. 504 22 13 2349 3032 77.5
13. Ed Dorney Sutton, Mass. 506 22 13 2194 2882 76.1
14. John Walker Chula Vista, Cal. 514 21 14 2281 2974 76.7
15. Ralph Maddox Poca, West Virginia 522 21 14 2285 2986 76.5
16. Charles Killgore Plattsburgh, Mo. 481 19 16 2130 2858 74.5
17. Cecil Monday Richmond, Va. 539 18 17 2134 2882 74.0
18. John Rademacher Plant City, Fla. 493 17 18 2107 2834 74.3
19. Joe Schultz Brentwood, N.Y. 469 17 18 2080 2834 73.4
20. Ansi! Copeland Akron, Ohio 504 17 18 2101 2868 73.3
21. Bob Graham Houston, Texas 509 16 19 2030 2820 72.0
22. Glen Riffle Dayton, Ohio 494 15 20 2149 2938 73.1
23. Jack Fahey Lexington, Ky. 509 13 22 1994 2840 80.2
24. Art Tyson Mt. Vernon, N.Y. 511 13 22 1769 2520 70.2
25. Sherman Bertrand Moundsville, W. Va. 470 20 15 2015 2752 73.2
26. Norm Rioux Montville, Conn. 524 18 17 1870 2666 70.1
27. Max Roseberry Marion, Ohio 499 18 17 1797 2594 69.3
28. Harold Clippinger Mt. Holly Springs, Pa. 471 17 18 1563 2414 64.7
29. Fernand Thibeault Sorel, Quebec, Can. 473 16 19 1888 2696 70.0
30. Curt Over Altoona, Pa. 473 16 19 1889 2736 69.0
31. Don Harris Smithville, Mo. 479 15 20 1738 2488 69.9
32. Clair Bruce New Castle, Pa. 477 15 20 1788 2652 67.4
33. Gary Roberts Waverly, Ohio 477 14 21 1793 2562 70.0
34. Levi Miller Plain City, Ohio 467 14 21 1847 2674 69.1
35. Jack Rainbow Monaca, Pa. 504 14 21 1925 2806 68.6
36. Daniel Beshore New Cumberland, Pa. 473 14 21 1712 2500 68.5
37. Kenneth Kugler Hamilton, Ohio 480 14 21 1776 2594 68.5
38. Fred Brown Oakwood, Ohio 491 13 22 1624 2416 67.2
39. Paul Tobey Kittery, Maine 468 13 22 1760 2628 67.0
40. Serge Cournoyer, Sorel, Quebec, Can. 484 13 22 1714 2573 66.6
41. Raymond Bechtel York, Pa. 468 12 23 1594 2451 65.0
42. Elmer Harrison Hamilton, Ohio 501 11 24 1624 2526 64.3
43. Bernard Herfurth N. Hampton, Mass. 500 10 25 1592 2468 64.5
44. Grant Powers Baltimore, Md. 484 8 27 1612 2540 63.5
45. Bob Dean Elkton, Va. 472 7 28 1569 2476 63.4
46. Henry Franke Centralia, Ill. 478 5 30 1067 1988 53.7
47. Bill Porter Levittown, Pa. 492 4 31 1425 2326 61.3
48. Donnie Roberts Lucasville, Ohio 476 4 31 1347 2278 59.1








Carl Steinfeldt and Curt Day tied for the World Championship. 
In the best two-out-of-three game playoff, 
Steinfeldt won the second and third games.
­
Playoff Summary
  W L.
R. SP %
 Steinfeldt 2 1
275 326 84.36
 Day 1 2
277 326 84.97
 First game





 Day 50

66 74 89.20%
 Steinfeldt
18
56 74 75.70%
 Second game





 Steinfeldt 53

117 138 84.80%
 Day
46
116 138 84.10%
 Third game





 Steinfeldt 52

102 114 89.50%
 Day
31
95 114 83.30%