August 21, 2001 Canadian Horseshoe Pitching Champ. 2001

2001 Canadian Horseshoe Pitching Championships
A tournament story

The 2001 Canadian Championships were held at the Kitchener-Waterloo Khaki Club in Wellesley, Ontario from August 15 thru 18. This is the fourth time that the Nationals have been held in Elmer Hohlís hometown. Khaki Club President Bernie Baetz stated : ę In 1983 the Canadian tournament was awarded to our club and with short notice, the 1985 and 1995 Canadian championships found their home here as well Ľ. The Khaki Club did a wonderful job...

The champions crowned in the seven divisions were:
Adam ELLIS, Cookstown, Ont. (Men) 70.98%
Sylvianne MOISAN, Chertsey, Que. (Women) 79.90%
Drew BECKER, Kitchener, Ont. (Jr Boys) 62.27%
Christine SPARKS, Port Alberni, B.C. (Jr Girls) 36.41%
Vern TYACKE, Melfort, Sask. (Sr 40) 51.96%
Don GRIFFITH, Calgary, Alb. (Sr 30) 59.42%
Heather MORRISON, (Sr Ladies) 55.66%

The complete results are available here, while the game by game summaries will be ...eventually. In the men's division, Ontario players completely dominated, taking the top 6 spots for the first time since 1973 ! The sensation of the tournament was 18 year-old Adam Ellis, pitching from the 40 feet distance since less than a year. Seeded number 1 at 75.0%, a lot of people, including Adam himself, didnít know what to expect as Adam had been unable to play during 4 months prior to the championships due to a broken foot. But Adam came through beautifully taking first spot in the round-robin, losing only to Steve Hohl and Tom Gallina (rounds 13 and 14). The race for the top three was exciting and ended with these last round matches : rookie Roy Nahls edging a tough Ron Parisien, and Tom Gallina eliminating Steve Hohl (both had 4 losses before that game). That created a three-way tie for second, while Adam Ellis got the bye for the finals. In the first game of the finals (for 3rd place), Tom Gallina doubled the score of his opponent, eliminating Roy Nahls. Then Tom reached the grande finale by edging Ron Parisien 41-38 in 64 shoes, both men throwing 70.3% in this pressure-packed game that saw both men covering a double, when they had to, at the end. In the best of three finale, Adam (70.0) edged Tom 40-35 in 70 shoes, then won the second game 42-18 with an 81.3%. Adam Ellis, who turned 18 in April 2001, became the third youngest menís champion ever. Incidently, the youngest ever, Dean McLaughlin (who was 17 when he won in 1938), was in attendance during the finals at Wellesley. Adam Ellis, the 1999 Canadian Junior Boys champion, joins Steve Hohl and Ross Stevenson as the only two players who have won in both divisions (Juniors and Men). In fact, Adam is also the only man to win the Menís Nationals in his first try since Elmer Hohl did in 1957 !

In the women's division, Sylvianne Moisan, who had succesfully defended her Womenís World Title the week before, started her tournament with a 26-shoe perfect game against Tammy Norvila. This is only the second perfect game ever pitched at the Nationals since 1927 ! The other one was a 24-shoe perfecto achieved by Diane Cantin in 1989. Sylvianne did lose two games on day two of the double round-robin. First to her mother Angeline Moisan and then to Sheila McGrath. Sheila, who had hardly played in 12 months, had a superb tournament to grab 3rd spot behind Sylvianne and Angeline. In the semi-finals, Angeline (65.4) eliminated Sheila (64.1) 41-39 in 78 shoes. In the mother-daughter finale, Sylvianne won in two straight games. The first 45-13 with 86.4% in 44 shoes and the second 42-11 with an 89.1% in 46 shoes. Angeline had 61.4 and 65.2% in those two games. Sylvianne had won her 6th Canadian womenís title.

Vern Tyacke (Senior Menís division) was the only successful defending champion, while 12 year-old Drew Becker, Christine Sparks, Don Griffith and Heather Morrison (one of two entries in the Senior Ladies division, who played with the womenís B) were first time champions.

The Khaki Club was formed in 1969 by a group of militia members and others to provide recreation and social fellowship in wide open spaces. Not long after its inception, the first basic horseshoe courts were erected. At this time a horseshoe league was formed and interest in the game flourished. In 1978 sixteen clay courts were completed in time to host the Michigan-Ontario Friendship tournament and the K.W. Khaki Club has been its Ontario home ever since. The club now has 24 courts, and in the fall of 1994 an addition to the facilities was begun with the construction of a roof for eight pitching courts. This has been accomplished entirely with volunteer labour. The roof proved to be very useful as it rained all day Thursday. Games had to be played at other covered facilities in the area (Thanks to the Greenwood Rod & Gun Club of St.Agatha, St.Clements, and Wilmot Rod & Gun Club). To the Khaki club team, the crews in charge of the courts, the computer, the kitchen, the tournament director, the scorekeepers, judges, and to all volunteers who helped make this 2001 tournament a success : thanks !

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