1979 World Tournament
Statesville, NC - July 26-August 5, 1979

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:

1979 World Tournament

For the first time in 50 golden years, the South would be the site of the World Tournament! The last time had been a half century ago in St. Petersburg. The man most responsible for bringing the Tournament to North Carolina was Shriner Jack Springer, City Recreation Director and Co-World Tournament Director. Jack, recuperating from an unexpected kidney stone operation, was carried onto the courts by stretcher to attend opening ceremonies, where he received a standing ovation.

North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt, a long time pitching buff, honored the N.H.P.A. by his presence. Jim joined the long known list of other horseshoe pitching dignitaries; such men as President Warren G. Harding, Babe Ruth, Rogers Hornsby, President Herbert H. Hoover, Joe Louis, Admiral Nimitz, President Harry S. Truman, and a host of others. After being presented an honorary N.H.P.A. membership card, two pairs of new pitching shoes, and an official pitching shirt with his name on the back, Governor Hunt hustled from the courts to the N.H.P.A.'s long headquarters trailer.

With live radio coverage and television filming, Governor Hunt reemerged wearing his new shirt and proceeded to his four shoe attack on the peg to a rousing standing ovation from the crowd which would probably equal that given a President!

Radio Station WSIC greatly boosted the sport with on the hour World Tournament announcements and the many superb interviews conducted by disc jockey Joe Blevins. The Charlotte Observer and various television stations provided excellent coverage. Sports Editor Mike Owens of the Statesville Record and Landmark provided the most knowledgeable account probably in the history of the World Tournament! Bernard Herfurth, the first N.H.P.A. advance man, spent much time and effort in this endeavor, and was the man responsible for obtaining the fine publicity and coverage.

The World format this year would be a 32-man round robin with a seeding method after qualifications to determine the 32-man field. The difficult selection process of the seeding was performed at the discretion of the Executive Council. Only four rookies made the group. Larry Morton became the first man to represent Georgia in the championship class. Young Tony Norwood, following his great father's footsteps, also qualified as Tennessee's youngest ever. Dave Hughes became Minnesota's youngest successful qualifier since Art Cumming in 1924. Young Don Kuchcinski continued a family tradition by earning his initial appearance. Don, because of illness, would later withdraw with a 13-10 record after facing the toughest tests the field could offer.

Don's misfortune caused a tremendous change in the course of events and will be brought to attention later. Youngster Jeff Williams would also have a hand in the most spectacular upset happenings in World Tournament history in what was its eighth decade! Even though Don Kuchcinski would officially be listed at 0-31, a note should be made of his most spectacular triumphs, all upsets: 51-45 over Zadroga, 51-46 over Deadeye Williams, 51-38 over Hohl, 51-38 over Gonzales, 52-30 over Seibold, 55-47 over Henton, 53-25 over Titcomb, 52-22 over Potts, 50-46 over Kabel, 50-41 over Schultz, 52-23 over Van Sant, 51-47 over Bellman, and 51-31 over Tyson. Don, before his illness, had established himself as the greatest giant-killer in history!

Past World Tournaments in the South had only a winner emerge from either Ohio or Iowa. This tendency seemed to favor high qualifier, Ralph Simon, from Iowa; Glen Henton, also a Hawkeye; and Jim Knisley, currently Ohio's dreaded one. Don Titcomb was the only man from the West to win the World east of the Mississippi! No Easterner had ever succeeded in the South! No Canadian had ever won in the South! With up start youngsters creating constant turmoil, anything was possible!

After six games the unbeaten leaders were West, Steinfeldt, Simon, Knisley and Seibold. Tied at 5-1 were Titcomb and Hohl. Defending World Champion Walter Ray Williams, was 4-2. No man had ever lost twice on opening day and successfully defended the World Title! Deadeye had lost to Don Kuchcinski and to his own brother Jeff, 51-29. Hohl fell to Don K. Titcomb bowed to Bertrand 50-34. Titcomb used a 31 of 32 ringer spree to turn back Killgore, 50-42. May upset Zadroga, 50-43.

Steinfeldt started off with 39 of 42 to jump on Don K. Deadeye started with 39 of 42 while bombing Norwood, 50-3. Schultz, after trailing Kabel 41-11, came back to win, 50-48, in an epic comeback. Gonzales had nine consecutive doubles with Black to score three points. Black had 11 straight for six points. Jesse watched a 30-13 lead melt as Jerry tossed 50 ringers in his last 54 shoes for a 52-40 win.

Schultz surprised Potts, 54-27. Solomon hit 35 of 38 to handle Tyson, 51-36. Steinfeldt (91.3 percent) used 15 straight doubles to stampede May, 52-21.

Jeff Williams shocked Henton, 51-41. Schultz zonked Dan Kuchcinski, 52-15 by opening with 23 ringers in 24 shoes and finishing with 41 of his last 46. Jerry Black, with "Manager" Jim McCombs looking on, trailed Henton, 20-0. He then tossed 30 of 32 to trail 23-19. Jerry later hit nine straight doubles to take command and complete the ambush, 52-42. Don K. also used nine straight doubles to bushwhack Deadeye. Young Jeff jumped on Knisley 31-13, and had 39 ringers out of 42 shoes during one spell, all to no avail.

Knisley fired 17 consecutive doubles and only scored nine points! Jim, with 72 ringers in a 78 shoe stretch, overpowered Jeff for a tense, 122 shoe, 51-49 victory. Simmons needed 43 of 46 to overhaul Solomon, 50-47 in 124 shoes. Hohl (95.2 percent) mauled May, 55-1. Steinfeldt started with 22 straight ringers to breeze through Norwood, 52-12. Bellman finished with 29 of his final 30 to overtake Potts, 52-42.

Zadroga started with 28 of 30 and finished with 14 straight ringers while blasting Morton, 51-15. Hughes, with 25 of his first 26, pounced on Kabel and then held him at bay for a 53-34 surprise. Seibold, using strings of 11 and eight consecutive doubles, drubbed Copeland, 50-11. Don K. hit 42 of his last 48 to offset Hohl's 25 of his last 28 to end the 51-38 stunner before the onlooking spectators. Young Jeff Williams threw 23 of his first 24 around the peg and shocked Gonzales, 52-24.

Van Sant had 14 doubles in his final 18 pitches to come back from a 42-26 deficit against Dan Kuchcinski, winning 51-49. Bertrand had 11 straight doubles en route to a 50-34 upset of Titcomb. Seibold had 10 consecutive early doubles and later hit 27 ringers in his final 28 shoes to hammer Black, 51-13. Norwood fired 25 of 26 all for naught, losing to Zadroga, 52-44. Hughes had streaks of 27 ringers in 30 shoes, and 35 of 38 to edge Potts, 50-47 in yet another upset. Schultz upset Fahey, 5249 in a heart-stopper.

Simon, with 10 consecutive doubles, jumped on Bellman, 22-0, and cruised to a 54-33 win. Seibold, with 14 straight doubles and 46 of his first 48, pounded Norwood, 52-18, as scorekeeper Neil Price looked on in awe. Steinfeldt, with 34 of his final 36, drilled Copeland, 53-22. Knisley trounced giant-killer Don K., 52-9, hitting 71 of 80 for 88.8 percent. Don's later withdrawal would cost Jim the extra money awarded the tournament's high average, as well as a share of the World Title! Copeland upset Zadroga, 50-47.

Hohl (91 percent) rung 55 of his final 58, scorching Jeff Williams, 51-17. Norwood upset Henton, 50-43. Titcomb used 27 of 28 to break away from Bellman, posting a 50-39 triumph. Schultz upset Solomon, 50-48. Dan Kuchcinski had streaks of 19 ringers in 20 shoes, 21 of 22 and 23 of 24 to best Simmons, 52-45. Bertrand had 12 straight doubles and 31 of 32 to take a 21-17 lead over Kabel after 52 shoes. Kabel finished with 25 of 26 to take the match, 53-33. All this action in just the first night. It's unbelievable that Horseshoe Pitching, ranked No. 17 in participating games and recreation (right behind No. 13 Golf and No. 15 Tennis) at the 10 million level, has not yet found a sponsor wise enough to televise the World Tournament!

After 12 games the leaders were West, Simon, Knisley, and Seibold, all 11-1. Seibold only pitched 69 percent with 50 ringers in 84 shoes while losing to Don K., 52-30. At Don's withdrawal, this loss would become a victory and the records of this match wiped out. Hard luck Mark was getting his second break in as many years. The Vogel withdrawal a year earlier reversed a loss and caused Mark to take second by virtue of ringer percentage. Knisley was upset by Hughes, 50-48. The game before, Jim (94 percent) massacred Bellman, 53-3. Simon was nailed 51-35, by Schultz. West was upset by rookie Hughes, 52-45. Deadlocked at 10-2 were Hohl and Steinfeldt.

Elmer was shocked by Bertrand, 51-38. Carl was stunned by Jeff Williams, 51-26 and by Killgore, 51-42. Defending champion Walter Ray Williams was given up for dead, being upset by Black, 51-44; Bertrand, 52-44; and Simmons, 51-24. May upset Henton, 50-30. Copeland measured Dan Kuchcinski, 55-49 in a very tense 142 shoe match. Bellman in a magnificent struggle bowed to Gonzales, 52-45 in 162 shoes, the longest match of the tournament, as well as Jesse's career.

Potts (90.7 percent) belted Harris, 52-8. Simmons victory over Deadeye was only his second in two days. Solomon ended a six game losing streak by beating Norwood, 51-41. Tyson ended a six game skid by taking Fahey, 51-37. Jeff Williams shot down Zadroga, 51-44. Kabel extended his win streak to eight, slaughtering Black, 52-4 and Copeland, 51-3. Hughes smashed Gonzales, 52-11.

After 17 games the leaders were Simon, Knisley, and Seibold, all 161. Simon (91.6 percent) thrashed Henton, 51-12 and breezed all day, as did Knisley. Seibold struggled past Tyson, 50-47; Simmons, 51-42; and Killgore, 51-41. Mark did stomp Titcomb, 51-6. Alone at 15-2 was West. Bob was bounced by Knisley, 52-27. Steinfeldt and Hohl were each 14-3. Fahey was next at 13-4. Carl was upset by Schultz, 51-40 in 132 shoes, Joe's longest World Tournament match. Ironically, Joe's previous longest was against Carl, but Joe lost. Elmer was upset by rookie Hughes, 51-36. Fahey lost only to Hohl, 51-26. Rookie Morton ended his 13 game drought by upsetting Potts, 50-34, for his first win.

Henton had a six game win streak stopped by Killgore, 52-48. Henton would have 10 losses while being in the 40's. May halted an eight game losing streak by beating Potts, 50-37. Simmons surprised Gonzales, 52-24. Solomon's eight game winning streak was ended by Gonzales, 52-44. Tyson halted a six game losing skein by topping Gonzales, 50-40. Jeff Williams stopped an eight game losing streak by besting Killgore, 52-35. Deadeye (95.7 percent) squashed Hughes, 51-9, as Walter Ray flashed the form that was expected of him. Titcomb had won six straight before the Seibold nightmare. Kabel's 11 game victory streak was ended by Don K. Zadroga was upset by Van Sant, 50-42.

After 22 games the leader was Knisley at 20-2. Jim lost a 50-48 heartbreaker to Simon in 130 shoes while pitching 84.6 percent to Simon's 83.3 percent. Jim (93.8 percent) overwhelmed Solomon, 52-9, and next game cuffed Titcomb, 50-15 with 91.8 percent. Jim was cookin', and knew that not very often, this late in the tournament, does the leader fail to win. Knotted at 19-3 were West, Simon, and Seibold. West was beaten by Gonzales, 52-30. Simon was out duelled by Seibold, 52-42 in 136 shoes, and by Deadeye, 52-48 in 122 shoes.

This was to be Deadeye's final win, as he would lose his final nine games while establishing new World Records for a defending champion. These were: Lowest finish - 15th; Longest losing streak - nine; and most defeats - 15. If not for the Kuchcinski forfeit win, Deadeye would have had a losing record, the first time a defending World Champion had done so. Walter Ray will be back with a vengeance, as he has too much talent and pride not to do so.

Seibold had won 30 of his last 32 matches before West zapped him, 50-37, and Dan Kuchcinski edged Mark, 50-48. Carl Steinfeldt at 18-4 was still a threat. Carl was jolted by West, 50-32. Hohl lost to Kabel, 52-34; Simon, 51-31; and Titcomb, 51-45, to be put in dire straits.

Don Harris gained his first victory after 20 consecutive losses by shocking Bellman, 50-23. Black ended a 10 game skid by taking Killgore, 52-39. Jerry next handled Van Sant, 52-46 in 128 shoes. Potts stopped a five game losing streak by nipping Gonzales, 51-46. Jeff Williams lost a terrific 52-49 match which lasted 126 shoes to Hughes, although pitching 84.9 percent to Dave's 85.7 percent. The performance of the N.H.P.A.'s younger stars guarantees a bright future for the sport of horseshoe pitching. Kable fell to Knisley, 51-41 and Zadroga, 50-42. Schultz went wild on Norwood with 90 percent, his career best, to smash Tony, 51-14. Joe, along with Karl Van Sant, was making his charge into the Top 100 of all time in World Tournament victories. They would remove the tied trio ofT. C. Reed, Earl Winston, and Norman Rioux. Zadroga was waylaid by Dan Kuchcinski, 55-27 and West, 51-21.

In the next to the most important match of the tournament, Killgore murdered Don Kuchcinski, 55-2, as the sick youngster only pitched 20 percent in game 23. As a competitor is allowed to forfeit one game, it was not until the completion of game 25 that Don was officially withdrawn.

If a man can excel in having hard luck, Jim Knisley was at his best. Jim, who usually gets his losses in close matches, was at it again, losing to Dan Kuchcinski, 51-40 and Fahey, 51-48.

After these two matches, Jim was taking a shortcut through the woods to the restroom when a huge pet dog tied to a tree took offense at Jim unknowingly intruding in his domain. Jim received a hearty bite on his upper leg. After Leo McGrath tracked down the disappointed owner, a West Virginia man, apologies were made, accepted, and rabies shots confirmed; life continued. It still is not known if Jim lasted until he made it to the restroom. Whatever, Jim's slump ended. Jim bested Hohl, 51-44; Deadeye, 50-26, and Zadroga, 50-21. Seibold (90.9 percent) meanwhile slaughtered Potts, 51-13, and later massacred Hohl, 50-16 with 90.2 percent. Mark was upended by Zadroga, 52-46 and Steinfeldt, 50-36. Mark, with the benefit of the Don Kuchcinski forfeit win, now owned a share of the lead. Simon only lost to Dan Kuchcinski, 50-24 and maintained a share of the lead among the trio deadlocked at 23-4. Also in the thick of it were West and Steinfeldt, each 22-5. Bob was beaten by Hohl, 50-24 and Dan Kuchcinski, 52-39. Carl was downed by Simon, 52-28. Solomon ended a seven game skid by beating Deadeye, 51-38. Hughes out battled Simmons, 51-41 in 126 shoes. Hughes had a nine game winning streak stopped by Tyson, 52-28. Tyson would win 13 of his last 15 games in a complete reversal of his earlier form.

In game 28, West was derailed by Kabel, 50-42 and Steinfeldt was brushed aside by Knisley, 55-27. Bob and Carl would each lose one more. West lost to Don Titcomb, 1960 World Champion making his first appearance since 1963, 52-26. Steinfeldt would lose to Al Zadroga for the third consecutive time, this one a 50-45 margin. Dan Kuchcinski, flashing the form of old, finished the event with nine straight victories, currently the World Tournament's longest streak. If history proves correct, Dan will be extremely tough in his next appearance. Glen Henton, who lost 14 of his last 17, will be back and awful hard to handle.

In game 29, Simon fell one game behind by being edged by West, 5147. Next game Ralph would be eliminated by spoiler Solomon, 52-47. Jim is definitely the wrong man for a contender to meet the final day. In game 30, with the World Championship hanging in the balance, Mark Seibold and Jim Knisley met to decide the best in the World. Both had been bridesmaids before; Jim in 1968 to Elmer Hohl, and Mark to Hohl in 1973 and to Deadeye Williams in 1978.

Mark started with 32 ringers in the first 34 shoes to lead 21-4. Jim hit 35 of 38 to trail 27-16 after 66 shoes. Mark had pitched 60 of 66 for a 90.9 percent pace. Jim had 55 ringers for 83.3 percent. At 76 shoes, Mark again led by 17 at 37-20. After 96 shoes, Mark led 47-30 and was in complete command. Jim picked up four points to trail 47-34. The next pitch was four dead, so this was the score at the 100 shoe mark. In the next eight shoes, Mark, fighting off choke fever, could only pitch three ringers. Jim hit all eight and now had the lead, 49-47. Jim pulled his first shoe to the left of the peg and tossed his second one on. Mark rang the stake with a double,winning 50-49 in 110 shoes. In game 31, Norwood ended a 23 game losing streak be edging Morton, 52-49. Knisley shaded Gonzales, 50-47 in 120 shoes. Mark Seibold whipped Henton, 52-33, to win his first World Championship.

Mark has never finished out of the top five in World Tournament competition. He was being compared to Casey Jones and Ray Martin as hard luck pitchers. Although great, they never won the World Title. This image is now shattered forever. Mark, always the perfect sportsman, at age 25 is probably horseshoe pitching's classiest champion in regard to his actions on and off the courts. Mark is already in the top 25 of all time in World Tournament victories, and one of only seven men on the list to have a lifetime ringer percentage above 80 percent at this writing.

On the day he won the World, Mark made a commitment to appear in an exhibition match at the Ohio Champion of Champions. This is a charity affair sponsored by VFW 5434 in Union, Ohio and supported by local businesses and the Ohio Buckeye H.P.A. which receives great media coverage. Mark, then furloughed from his job, took a financial loss to appear there, as he could have been at a much larger paying tournament. Mark proved his World Champion worthiness by showing his word is gold!

Note: This year the forfeit victories will not be counted until the proper time juncture in which they become such.

1979 World Tournament Statesville, NC - July 26-August 5, 1979
World Tournament Summary
1.MARK SEIBOLDIN51.50 2742071 2510 82.51 1547
2.JIM KNISLEYOH53.60 2652138 2596 82.36 1565
3.RALPH SIMON IA 56.00 25 6 2096 2598 80.68 1523
4.CARL STEINFELDT NY 52.10 24 7 2031 2526 80.40 1464
5.BOB WEST OR 54.30 24 7 1929 2528 76.31 1458
6.DAN KUCHCINSKI PA 53.40 23 8 1994 2560 77.89 1474
7.ELMER HOHL ON 54.40 22 9 1915 2402 79.73 1445
8.AL ZADROGA PA 53.20 22 9 2039 2618 77.88 1417
9.DAVE HUGHES MN 51.90 21 10 1909 2444 78.11 1378
10.JACK FAHEY KY 55.70 19 12 1888 2472 76.38 1316
11.JOE SCHULTZ NY 53.00 19 12 1824 2472 73.79 1346
12.WILBUR KABEL OH 52.00 18 13 1916 2532 75.67 1428
13.DON TITCOMB CA 52.70 18 13 1786 2378 75.11 1298
14.JESSE GONZALES CA 55.10 17 14 2106 2672 78.82 1307
15.WALTER RAY WILLIAMS, JR CA DC 16 15 1722 2338 73.65 1226
16.JEFF WILLIAMS CA 50.30 15 16 1872 2484 75.36 1304
17.ART TYSON NY 52.10 15 16 1779 2396 74.25 1284
18.RONNIE SIMMONS CA 52.40 14 17 1903 2540 74.92 1285
19.CHARLES KILLGORE MO 51.70 14 17 1845 2514 73.39 1329
20.JIM SOLOMON PA 54.70 14 17 1748 2386 73.26 1234
21.CLARENCE BELLMAN IN 50.40 13 18 1817 2498 72.74 1198
22.MERLIN POTTS KS 53.10 12 19 1715 2340 73.29 1275
23.ANSIL COPELAND OH 51.60 12 19 1628 2274 71.59 1062
24.KARL VAN SANT IN 50.80 12 19 1757 2458 71.48 1214
25.BOB MAY IN 51.60 12 19 1568 2242 69.94 1152
26.GLEN HENTON IA 52.40 10 21 1829 2464 74.23 1247
27.JERRY BLACK ND 51.80 10 21 1661 2380 69.79 1049
28.SHERMAN BERTRAND WV 52.60 9 22 1802 2488 72.43 1141
29.DON HARRIS MO 49.80 6 25 1483 2214 66.98 950
30.LARRY MORTON GA 50.30 4 27 1323 2030 65.17 854
31.TONY NORWOOD TN 50.10 3 28 1431 2150 66.56 864
32.DON KUCHCINSKI PA 50.80 0 31 0 0 0.00 0