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1978 World Tournament
Des Moines, Iowa - July 28 - Aug. 6, 1978

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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:

1978 World Tournament

For the fifth time in history, and after a thirty-two year absence, the World Tournament returned to Des Moines, the former horseshoe pitching capital of the world. The eternal gratitude horseshoe pitching owes this great city for its very preservation during the lean years of 1936 through 1946 cannot be forgotten. But times change, and the general populace had lost its zeal for the ancient sport.

N.H.P.A. Secretary Donnie Roberts, after expressing his disappointment in this notable circumstance, was rewarded with a scalding editorial in the Des Moines Register's sports section which candidly pointed out the sport's deficiencies. Nonetheless, many of us still enjoyed our stay there. There were many complaints that the courts were unlevel. One pitcher, Roger Vogel, withdrew from competition because of this condition. Roger was given a one-year suspension from World Tournament play by the Executive Council for this withdrawal. John Monasmith, 1963 World Champion, withdrew because of illness.

Seven rookies made this elite group. Youngsters Mike Pateneaude and Jeff Williams got their start in the Junior Division. Mike appeared in 1971 in the top class. Jeff was twice World Champion. The other five rookies were well known on a state-wide level, but had not received much acclaim nationally. These five were Gene Rice, Elwyn Cooper, Jack O'Connor, Herbert Criss, and Ralph Simon. Now the account of this 36 man round robin field. After seven games there was a quintet of unbeatens: Maddox, Henton, Zadroga, Hohl, and Walter Ray Williams. Just a step behind at 6-1 were Vandegriff, Potts, Knisley, and Seibold. At 5-2 were O'Connor, Kabel, Simon, and Fahey. Ringer percentages from this all star group were unusually down. This 1978 field would only average 70.3 percent, the lowest percentage since the 67.6 percent showing of the 1959 group. Yet there were only seven rookies and there were 19 pitchers in the all time top 100 with 17 staying to the finish. Deadeye (92.4 percent) routed Van Sant, 50-7 while using the newly sanctioned "Deadeye" Pitching Shoe. Seibold (92.3 percent) cracked young Jeffrey Williams, 51-5. Hohl (92.3 percent) crushed Beshore, 51-10. Zadroga 95 percent) massacred young Pateneaude, 52-1. Vandegriff lost only to Schultz, 50-34. Potts was humbled by Simmons, 50-32. Knisley was shaded by Potts, 50-47. Seibold was taken by Bellman, 54-43. Rookie O'Connor drubbed Harris, 54-4, but was defeated by Rice, 50-35 and Knisley, 5041. Kabel was jolted by Smith, 51-38 and Fahey, 51-31. Rookie Simon was subdued by Fahey, 52-29 and Knisley, 50-38. Kentucky Jack was decked by Schultz, 51-43 and Hohl, 51-33. Pateneaude upset Rademacher, 52-35. Darnold topped Black, 51-31. Rice shocked Martz, 51-45.

Cooper surprised Darnold, 50-27. Black tripped Bertrand, 50-42. Copeland halted a six game skid by bopping Pratt, 50-30. Bertrand upset Copeland, 52-41. Van Sant bashed Copeland, 55-33. Bellman needed 120 shoes to fend off rookie Criss, 50-43. Henton struggled by Copeland, 50-49; Riffle, 54-44; and Martz, 50-40.

After 14 games the unbeaten leaders were Henton and Walter Williams. Knotted at 13-1 were Zadroga and Seibold. Coupled at 12-2 were Maddox and Hohl. Tied at 11-3 were rookie Simon, Potts, and Knisley. Deadlocked at 10-4 were O'Connor, Kabel, Vandergriff, and Fahey.

Zadroga was stunned by Harris, 50-45. Seibold (90.9 percent) blasted Simmons, 50-16 and Cooper, 54-4 with 92.5 percent. Mark for these seven games allowed no opponent as many as 20 points. Maddox was bushwhacked by Fahey, 52-29 and Simmons, 51-47. Defending World Champion, Elmer Hohl, got his first taste of defeat by being administered a sound whacking at the hands of Glenn Riffle, 51-31. Elmer was later beaten by his old nemesis, Martz, 50-36. Simon was downed by Martz, 50-42. Potts took it on the chin from rookie Criss, 51-47 and then Smith, 51-25. Knisley was floored by Deadeye (91.8 percent), 5117 and later was edged by Zadroga, 50-47. Jim (90 percent) got in a lick on Simmons, 51-16. O'Connor was beaten by Van Sant, 50-42 and Bellman, 51-41. Kabel was dumped by Van Sant, 50-22 and Knisley, 50-34. Vandegriff was tripped by Copeland, 53-35 and Van Sant, 51-47. Fahey was kicked by Potts 52-25 and was edged by Walter Ray, 50-46. Deadeye (90 percent) gapped Rademacher, 50-7. Henton's closest match was 51-45 over Van Santo Beshore ended a 13 game losing streak by handling Cooper, 52-26 for his first win. Black surprised Bellman, 51-49. May edged Rademacher, 53-47. Criss upset Smith, 5247 in 132 shoes.

After 21 games, Glen Henton and Walter Ray Williams remained unbeaten. Breathing down their necks was Zadroga at 20-1. Still alive at 18-3 was Hohl with Fahey and Seibold each 17-4. Elmer was shocked by Simon, 52-49. Fahey had now won 11 in a row. Jack (90 percent) dusted Simmons, 51-13. Mark had a 13 game winning streak convincingly halted by Fahey, 51-32. Mark later was edged by Knisley, 52-48 and was out dueled by Deadeye, 50-44 in 136 shoes, although Mark pitched 83.8 percent. Walter Ray tossed 85.2 percent. Jeff Williams ended his 20 game losing streak by snuffing Rademacher, 5221 for his first win. John, earlier, halted a seven game losing skein by edging Darnold, 52-46. Pratt ended a 16 game dry spell at the expense of Jeff, 52-29. Young Pateneaude stopped his eight game losing streak by topping Pratt, 54-35. Darnold halted his 11 game skid by a forfeit victory over Vogel. Harold then upset Maddox, 50-17. In a complete surprise, Rice, an Ohio Buckeye State Association Vice President, ended his nine game skid by shocking Ohio Champion Knisley with an easy 51-32 triumph. Gene pitched 82.5 percent, his best of the tournament. Cooper waylaid Potts, 55-35 and then Copeland, 50-43. O'Connor pummelled Beshore, 50-12 with 85.9 percent, his best. Jack would conclude the event with 15 straight losses. Copeland trounced Bellman, 50-25. Riffle (35.7 percent) had the worst game of his career and was punished for it by May, 50-6. Criss measured Van Sant, 52-47. Harris took Bellman, 51-41 and Kabel, 50-25 in back to back con-quests. Martz continued his climb to respectability, losing only to Kabel, 50-29. Vandegriff edged Rademacher, 50-47. Schultz jarred Potts, 52-17. Smith stung Knisley, 51-34. Knisley (90 percent) clobbered Schultz, 50-18. Zadroga struggled past Darnold, 52-47; Schultz, 52-45; Smith, 51-43; and Black, 51-41. Big Al was just staying alive.

After 28 games only Deadeye remained undefeated. Henton was derailed by Knisley, 51-40 and Fahey, 50-45 and now stood 26-2. Zadroga was upended by Seibold, 51-33 and Vandegriff, 50-45, to be 25-3. Hohl, also 25-3, had now won 16 straight. Tied with 23-5 marks were Seibold and Fahey. Mark was dealt his severe blow by Hohl, 53-28, and Jack his by Riffle, 52-36. Knisley was 22-6. Everyone else had now been eliminated. Knisley bowed to May, 50-27. Walter Ray had the high game of the set with 90 percent while smoking Vandegriff, 54-11.

In game 29, the noose began to tighten. Henton, with only 57.3 percent, was smashed by Bellman, 51-25. Fahey hit just 48.3 percent and fell to Zadroga, 50-30. Hohl (91.8 percent) eliminated Knisley, 51-10. Seibold (90 percent) thumped Beshore, 55-5. In game 30, Williams defeated Kabel, 53-36, thus eliminating Fahey. Hohl escaped Potts, 5049. Zadroga survived Simon, 50-48. Seibold edged Henton, 50-46. Williams now had a three game lead over Zadroga and Hohl with only five remaining. In game 31, Maddox upset Zadroga. Williams breezed through O'Connor, 50-30, thereby eliminating Seibold and Henton; Glen by being mastered by Hohl, 52-45. In game 32, Williams eliminated Zadroga, 51-27. In game 33, Williams eliminated Hohl, 50-45 and joined Falor, Lundin, Mossman, and Kuchcinski as those who became World Champion before the age of 21. Elmer Hohl's string of 80 percent tournaments had ended at 18! Elmer also lost his final two matches and fell to third place. Elmer continued his string of top five finishes, now 19 consecutive years. Seibold, by winning 13 of his last 14, finished second. In game 34, Knisley (91.6 percent) slaughtered Bellman, 52-8. Young Deadeye ran into the final day jinx and was toppled by Henton, 51-28 in 120 shoes, snapping Walter's winning streak at 38 games.

Walter Ray Williams, Jr. is horseshoe pitching's 22nd officially recognized World Champion. With Walter Ray's enthusiasm and love of the sport, his potential is limitless. Walter Ray will probably be one of the dominant forces in the sport for many years to come.


1978 World Tournament Des Moines, Iowa - July 28 - Aug. 6, 1978
QualW.L.R.Sp.Pet.
1. Walter Williams Chino, Cal. 548 34 1 2087 2480 84.2
2. Mark Seibold Huntington, Ind. 514 29 6 2046 2528 80.9
3. Elmer Hohl Wellesley, Ont., Can. D.C. 29 6 1932 2462 78.5
4. Al Zadroga Elizabeth, Pa. 558 29 6 1931 2532 76.3
5. Glen Henton Maquoketa, Iowa 505 29 6 1986 2606 76.2
6. Jim Knisley Bremen, Ohio 503 28 7 2025 2590 78.2
7. Jack Fahey Lexington, Ky. 502 28 7 1789 2384 75.0
8. Merlin Potts Leonardville, Kansas 513 25 10 1789 2396 74.7
9. Ralph Maddox Poca, West Virginia 524 25 10 1820 2476 73.5
10. Ralph Simon Waterloo, Iowa 510 24 11 1737 2280 76.2
11. Roy Smith Muskegon, Mich. 492 24 11 1897 2538 74.7
12. Joe Schultz Long Island, N.Y. 484 22 13 1855 2564 72.3
13. Clarence Bellman Bremen, Ind. 499 21 14 1846 2556 72.2
14. Wilbur Kabel New Madison, Ohio 508 20 15 1648 2366 69.7
15. Bill Vandegriff Fairfield, Iowa 513 20 15 1700 2446 69.5
16. Clyde Martz Bridgeville, Pa. 504 20 15 1716 2474 69.4
17. Donald Harris Smithville, Mo. 487 19 16 1696 2414 70.3
18. Glen Rime Dayton, Ohio 487 18 17 1587 2392 66.3
19. Herbert Criss Bremerton, Wash. 483 16 19 1785 2628 67.9
20. Ronnie Simmons Buena Park, Cal. 486 15 20 1694 2442 69.4
21. Bob May Glenwood, Ind. 480 15 20 1555 2358 65.9
22. Karl Van. Sant Cayuga, Ind. 499 14 21 1797 2551 70.4
23. Sherman Bertrand Moundsville, W. Va. 488 14 21 1630 2384 68.4
24. Ansil Copeland Akron, Ohio 497 14 21 1678 2458 68.3
25. Jack O'Connor Brainerd, Minn. 515 14 21 1520 2296 66.2
26. Jerry Black Fargo, N.D. 504 13 22 1465 2242 65.3
27. Elwyn Cooper Kansas City, Mo. 493 13 22 1451 2252 64.4
28. Gene Rice Toledo, Ohio 482 10 25 1503 2288 65.7
29. Harold Darnold Burlington, Iowa 476 10 25 1456 2300 63.3
30. Michael Pateneaude Oxford, Maine 483 10 25 1355 2144 63.2
31. Daniel Beshore New Cumberland, Pa. 478 9 26 1426 2234 63.8
32. John Pratt Scappoose, Oregon 501 8 27 1306 2170 60.2
33. John Rademacher Plant City, Fla. 488 7 28 1302 2092 62.2
34. Jeff Williams Chino, Cal. 477 4 31 1121 1980 56.6
35. Roger Vogel Havana, Ill. 483 Forfeit
36. John Monasmith Yakima, Wash. 479 Forfeit