January 2016


(aka The RGS Book)

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Table of Contents
Playing Rules
Shoe and pit illustrations (page 48 in printed book)
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Complete Book

Published by The National Horseshoe Pitchers Association (NHPA)

(January 1, 2013)

II. REQUIREMENTS – This section includes requirements (in addition to the Playing Rules) that apply for Tournament/League Officials, local Sanctioned Tournaments/Leagues, Charter/State Information, the World Tournament, Special Tournaments, and also for Cadet and Junior Pitchers. Violations of these additional requirements will be enforced by designated penalties or by other penalties assessed by the Tournament/League Officials, Charter Officers, or by the NHPA Executive Council.


Section A – Duties and Responsibilities

All NHPA sanctioned tournaments and leagues shall have a designated director or committee to administer the activities of the event. The tournament/league officials shall:

1. Before the Event

  1. Publicize the event well in advance by using the Charter tournament schedule, by posting/distributing “flyers”, and/or by using all other available media. The information provided should include available Divisions, the date(s) and location of the event, amount of the entry fee, a prize list, the registration deadline, and any other special/pertinent information.

  2. If the tournament requires pre-registration, the Classes for each Division should be made up in advance and the contestants are to be seeded based on current NatStats averages (see RULE 11, Section D).

  3. Contestants should be notified of their pitching dates and times in a timely manner.

2. During the Event

  1. During sign-in, verify that all entrants are current NHPA members.

  2. Arrange for scorekeeping for each court.

  3. Appoint an official judge(s) and provide them with judging tools, and a copy of the current RGS book.

  4. Before Class play begins:

  1. Announce the method of play (cancellation or count-all), the length of the games (how many shoes or points) and information about alternate pitch, if it will be used.

  2. Announce how winners will be determined, and how ties and class ties will be broken.

  3. Announce the amount and method for paying scorekeepers (if used).

  4. If scoring devices are used, provide the contestants with a name placard.

  5. Provide a schedule and/or round-robin card of games to be played, including court assignments.

  6. Have statisticians available for the checking and recording of game scores and for the compilation of class results, as the tournament proceeds.

  7. Make the final decisions on any protests, and answer any questions that may arise.

  8. When necessary, make the decision to halt play due to inclement weather or other emergencies and decide when play shall resume, if or when conditions improve.

  9. Present the awards at the end of play.

3. After the Event

Tournament and League results must be submitted to NatStats upon completion of any tournament or league. See REQUIREMENT #2, Section I, below, for details and additional information.


All NHPA Tournaments/Leagues shall be conducted at the discretion of the Tournament/League Officials, providing THE OFFICIAL PLAYING RULES, REQUIREMENTS, GUIDELINES, AND SPECIFICATIONS are followed.

Section A – Sanctioning
All NHPA Tournaments shall be sanctioned by the Charter Regional Director in accordance with the published guidelines or directives for NHPA Regional Directors. All NHPA Leagues shall be sanctioned by the Director of the NHPA SANCTIONED CLUB/LEAGUE PROGRAM.

Section B - Eligibility
Tournament entry and league participation is restricted to contestants holding a current NHPA membership card (see Bylaws for additional information on membership). This includes pacers and substitutes. Other eligibility requirements may apply for State tournaments and for the World Tournament.

Section C – Fees

All registration (entry) and any other fees shall be determined by the Tournament/League Officials.

Section D – Division Size

Any division not receiving at least four (4) entries can be canceled, but the entrants shall be given an opportunity to pitch in a Class of another Division.

Section E – Tournament Credit
  1. 1. For singles and doubles events, a contestant must have pitched a minimum of 100 shoes to receive NatStats credit.

    Exception: If all games of the round-robin schedule have been pitched in less than 100 shoes, these statistics may be submitted for NatStats credit.

  2. 2. In team tournament competitions, any team member who has pitched a minimum of one hundred (100) shoes during that event may receive NatStats credit.

  3. For elimination tournaments, a contestant must pitch one hundred (100) or more shoes to receive NatStats credit for that event.

Section F – League Credit
All seasonal, sanctioned Club/League play must be four hundred (400) or more pitched shoes to qualify as an official sanctioned event for NatStats purposes .

Section G – Count-All Scoring

The Count-All System of scoring is to be optional throughout any sanctioned event. The exception to this shall be the World and State Championship Tournaments where only the preliminary qualifying rounds may use the count-all method of total points to determine the Championship Classes.

Section H – Total Ringers/Shoes

All ringers and shoes pitched under one sanction number, including additional shoes for breaking of ties and play-off games, shall be included when figuring the totals for that event.

Section I – Reporting Results

1. Tournaments – The Tournament Director or statistician must send Tournament results to the Charter statistician (recommended) and to NatStats as soon as possible, upon completion of the tournament. A period of not more than two (2) weeks is recommended.

2. Leagues – League results must be sent to the NHPA Sanctioned Club/League Director as soon as possible, upon the completion of the league season. A period of not more than two (2) weeks is recommended. The Sanctioned Club/League Director will forward these results to NatStats.


Section A – State Championship Play

Each Charter must hold an NHPA sanctioned State Championship event annually unless there is more than one Charter in the State, in which case the State Tournament will be rotated, unless otherwise agreed upon by the involved Charters.

  1. Divisions

The State Singles Championship Tournament must advertise and provide an entry form stating the intent to crown champions in at least Men, Women, Junior and Elder Divisions. Other Divisions are an option left to the discretion of the tournament officials. All age limitations for Divisions shall be in accord with RULE 1, Sections A-E.

  1. Mixed Play and Handicapping (see also Rule 11, Section E)

The Championship Classes of the Men and Women Divisions in a State Singles Championship Tournament cannot be mixed play. All other Divisions and classes may be mixed at the discretion of the Tournament Officials. When other Divisions are mixed in these Championship Classes, the champion of each Division will be the highest finishing player in their respective Division.
Handicap formats may be used in State Championship Class play, but any State Championship Division Title must be determined by a non-handicapped method of play.

  1. Residency

State Championship Tournaments are open only to those NHPA members who legally reside in that State and meet the regular eligibility requirements imposed for the event. An exception to this shall be active-duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their immediate family (if married) who may pitch in the State Championship event of any State in which they are stationed/reside, provided they meet the other eligibility requirements of that Charter. No one will be allowed to pitch in more than one State Championship Tournament per year.

  1. Full and Short Distance Pitchers

All sanctioned tournaments shall provide a playing opportunity for all eligible Full and Short distance pitchers. The NHPA Executive Council, in accord with REQUIREMENT #5 (below), can authorize exceptions for special tournaments such as Invitationals, Juniors only, etc.

Section B – Newsline

All Charter officers must be members of the NHPA and have access to the official NHPA online publication “Newsline” .

 Section CDelegates

Only NHPA members in possession of a current combined State/National card are eligible to vote on any matter pertaining to the election of Charter officers, the sanctioned tournament schedule, or anything else that may directly or indirectly involve NHPA business, Bylaws, or official Playing Rules.

Section D – Compliance

Each Charter must comply in all ways with THE OFFICIAL PLAYING RULES, REQUIREMENTS, GUIDELINES, AND SPECIFICATIONS, and with the BYLAWS of the NHPA . Any deliberate violation of same will be cause for possible NHPA suspension of Charter Officers, the revocation of the Charter, or both .


Section A – Committee and Director

The World Tournament Committee shall consist of all members of the NHPA Executive Council present at the World Tournament. The NHPA President shall designate the World Tournament Director who will confer with the President on the format and schedule.

Section B – Divisions

A World Tournament shall include separate Championship Divisions for Juniors, Open Men, Open Women, Seniors, and Elders. If Class pitching performance is used as a "qualifier" for determining who will advance to Championship Division play, the Championship rounds shall be assigned a separate sanction number and both Class and Championship play shall each count as a separate tournament.
Note: Qualified Alternates in Championship Divisions - Unless the tournament director has been contacted, contestants who have not checked in one half hour before their scheduled pitching time shall forfeit all games and be replaced by a qualified alternate. For Championship Divisions, alternates are determined by the results of Class Play and their names will be announced at that previous awards ceremony.

Section C - Championship Finals

Finalists in each World Championship Division will be determined by NatStats averages and/or by the results of preliminary Class play within their Division. All contestants will be seeded according to their ringer percentages.

Section D – World Title

The title of Champion Horseshoe Pitcher of the World can be contended for only in tournaments authorized by the NHPA Executive Council.

Section E – Division Winners

The winner of each Division of the authorized World Tournament shall be declared the Champion Horseshoe Pitcher of the World for their respective Division, and shall hold the title until the next authorized World Tournament.

Section F – Playoffs

In World Tournament play, games won and lost shall determine the order in which the winners are placed. If there is a tie for first place, a playoff game will determine the winner. All playoff games will follow the same format as the round-robin play for that Class. If more than two players tie for first place, a ladder-type playoff will be used, based on ringer percentages in that competition. All other ties (second place and below) will be determined by ringer percentage. If still tied, "who beat who", and then "ringer % vs entry %" will be used. Note: Percentage ties for all move-up positions shall be broken by a playoff game. If still tied, additional innings will be played (see Rule 8, Section B.2). NOTE: If a shoe-limit play-off game ends in a tie, extra innings ( see RGS Rule 8, Section B-2 ) will be used to break this tie .

Section G – Records

Any record set in any Sanctioned Tournament shall be called a World Record. Any record set in a World Tournament shall be called a World Tournament Record. These statistics will be different sets of records and recorded as such. The NHPA Executive Council will decide on the authenticity of any disputed record.

Section H – Eligibility

All entrants shall have their eligibility and entering percentage verified by NatStats.

  1. Qualifying Events – All adult entrants to the World Tournament who reside in the United States must have completed at least four (4) NHPA sanctioned events at their Division pitching distance during the twelve (12) months preceding the cut-off date listed on the current World Tournament entry form. Note: Only one event is required for Juniors.

  2. Exemptions – An exception to the requirement of four (4) sanctioned events shall be active-duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their immediate family (if married), provided they meet the other eligibility requirements. Entering averages for foreign entrants and active-duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their immediate family, not in the NatStats database, will be verified by other means. (See RULE 11, Section D.1)

Section I – Awards

The Prize and Trophy list will be developed by members of the NHPA Executive Council and approved by a majority of that Council. This award list will also be published for the NHPA membership, in a timely manner.

  1. Minimum cash awards are as follows:

  1. The Championship Division cash prize list, including the Junior Trusts, will be paid from the NHPA funds collected based upon the $3.00 set-aside for each adult member reported in the previous year.

  2. The Men's Open Championship cash prize for first place shall be a minimum of $2,500 and the Women's Open Championship cash prize for first place shall be a minimum of $2,000.

  3. The Executive Council shall determine an amount of money, not to be less than $3,000, to be added to the World Tournament cash prizes. This money may come from any source available to the NHPA Executive Council.


Section A – Events

The NHPA Executive Council may authorize or conduct, at its discretion, special/promotional tournaments, matches, exhibitions, open, invitational, or celebrity pitching events, anywhere that it deems suitable .

Section B – Waiver

Any Special tournament or event, including the World Tournament, will be conducted in accordance with THE OFFICIAL PLAYING RULES, REQUIREMENTS, GUIDELINES, AND SPECIFICATIONS except that the NHPA Executive Council may approve a waiver if it will aid in the promotion of the sport and/or success of the event . The NHPA Executive Council may authorize a limit to the number of entries to any Special Tournament or Special Event if it feels time, available courts, or any other conditions make it impossible to reasonably schedule an unlimited number of entrants . In such cases, limits may be set by any manner deemed suitable .

REQUIREMENT 6 – CADET AND JUNIOR PITCHERS – Additional Information (See also Playing Rule 1, Section A)

Section A – Juniors Competing In Adult Divisions

Any Junior Boy or Junior Girl pitcher may compete in an Adult Division of a mixed tournament, without harm to their Junior standing, provided neither of these Junior Division Classes is offered/available in that same tournament. When a Junior Division is offered, a Junior may pitch with the adults (without harm to their Junior standing) if their entering average is at least ten (10) percent higher than the next closest Junior. Note: This same requirement will also apply to Junior Cadets; for their movement into other Divisions.

Section B – Eligibility

Junior pitchers who request admittance and are accepted into an adult class outside the conditions set forth in Section A above, will forever forfeit their Junior eligibility. A Junior Boy who forfeits his Junior status must pitch from the full distance. Note: The same above requirements will apply to Junior Cadets; for their movement into the Junior Division.

Section C – Awards

All Junior play (mixed class or otherwise) will be conducted on an amateur basis . Awards presented to this Division by the Tournament/League Officials should have no immediate monetary value . The awarding of trophies, medals, or ribbons is recommended . Any award with monetary value, including funds from the Charter, State, World Tournament or the Junior Scholar Pitcher Awards Program, shall not be issued before the recipient reaches 18 years of age . Scholar awards may have additional restrictions .

Section D – Responsibility

It shall be the responsibility of all Junior pitchers (or their parents/guardians) to make sure that their amateur standing is not jeopardized by any violation of the above information.