2009 World Tournament report

Alan Francis and Joan Elmore – World Champions

The 84th Annual World Horseshoe Pitching Tournament was held in Springfield, Illinois from July 27 through August 8, 2009. There were 1330 entries with 46 States and 3 Countries represented, including Norway and Canada (with 4 provinces). There were 31 entries from Canada: 2 from B.C., 8 from Alberta, 18 from Ontario, and 3 from Quebec. But there were 29 who officially participated.

World Champions were crowned in 8 divisions. Here they are:
Men: Alan FRANCIS, Defiance, OH 19-0 90.26
Women: Joan ELMORE, Mt Juliet, TN 19-1 84.99
Elder: Herschel E. WALTERS, Bourbon, IN 10-1 80.29
Senior Men: Ron DECKARD, Tampa, FL 8-3 64.60
Senior Women: Sheila SHEPARD, Wesminster, CO 7-0 78.29
Junior Boys: Michael BOWMAN, Archie, MO 11-0 79.90
Junior Girls: Lisa ATWELL, Burbank, CA 6-2 58.99
PeeWees: Daniel MILLER, Cambridge, MN 7-0 33.47

The new portable courts developed for the NHPA in 2008 (thanks to Jerry Labrosse) are definitely record-setters. Matched with the marvelous Chenoa blue clay, records tumbled again in Springfield like they did in York 2008.

In the Men’s division, Alan Francis naturally broke a few, again. He set a new record for a complete tournament average with 90.26% (917 ringers out of 1016 shoes), improving his own record set in 2008. He pitched 7 consecutive games over 90% and an incredible total of 14 games over 90% out of 19. Previous record was 13 set by Elmer Hohl and Casey Jones in respectively 35 and 31 games! Alan also extended his winning streak at 105, still distancing the previous record of 69 set in the 1950s by Fernando Isais. With such a performance one would think he easily captured his 15th World title. Not the case as Brian Simmons (2000 and 2002 champion) was determined to give Alan the game of his life. Starting with 34 out of 38 shoes, Brian had the lead 13-9. He then fired 15 consecutive doubles, gaining but 9 points to climb at 22-9. After 100 shoes, Brian was still leading 28-18 and had 93 ringers compared to Alan’s 90. After 114 shoes Brian got to 37 points while Alan was on 21. Five doubles later it was 37-30 and Alan missed on his 126th shoe! With a double, Brian could be the new champion, but he missed also on his 126th shoe, Alan keeping the important single point. Alan never missed again and won the record 140-shoe game 40-37 shooting 90% to Brian’s 89.3%. They had a total of 44 fourdeads in what is considered as one of the best games ever played! Alan had rallied with 25 out of 26 after trailing 37-21… We again had 3 Canadians in the top group. Tom Gallina took 6th place, his highest finish to date, with an average of 69.8%. Andre Leclerc finished 12th with 66.0% and Drew Becker ended 14th with 66.9%. Drew recorded his two best games against the top two men: 73.7% vs Alan in 76 shoes, and 75.7% vs Brian in 74 shoes. It took 62.67% to make the top 20 and Terry Steinke (62.0%), Alberta champion, missed it by 4 ringers.

In the Women’s division, as she did in her last 3 participations, Sylvianne Moisan recorded the high average (85.7%) and most shoes pitched (1444) but lost a playoff this time to Joan Elmore 24-40. Sylvianne had a tough road to get there, pitching 5 games over 100 shoes, including 3 the last day. Her longest was 130 shoes (second longest 40-point game ever played) in the next-to-last round vs Sue Snyder. Sylvianne (87.7%) rallied to win 40-37, thus eliminating the defending champion from the race. The women’s group was probably the strongest ever. The 5 women over 80% equals the record set in Kitchener (1997). An impressive total of 10 different women recorded games over 90%, the highest being 96.4% by Judy Curtiss. While Sylvianne’s performance was her 3rd highest ever at the World Tournament, many other women recorded their best World Tournament ever. That includes Joan Elmore, Debra Odum, Marlene Ray, Tamara Burke, Debra Brown, Sharon Chiddister, Maxine Griffith, Vicki Kunde, Pam Aiken, Stacey Robinson, Dale LaValley, Terry Beagle and Trisha Hoshaw.

New records were set also in the Senior Ladies division where the new champion Sheila Shepard and defending champion Rivers Prewette both recorded their best ever. Rivers overall average (82.9%) beats her own record set in 2008. She lost the deciding game to Sheila Shepard 39-41 in 86 shoes. Angeline Moisan from Quebec, former champion, qualified and finished in 6th place.

No Canadians won their group this year but a good number of them placed among the top 6 in their class. The inductees into the NHPA Hall of Fame for 2009 were Joan Elmore, Frank Bohun and Jack Freeman.

See 2009 World Tournament complete results here.



Leclerc vs Becker in 2009 World Tournament Men's Championship.

Leclerc vs Becker in 2009 World Tournament Men’s Championship.

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