November 17, 2003
|1987 - Elmer HOHL, Wellesley, ONT.
Introduction: Born January 16, 1919. Wife: Hilda Seyler. Had 5 children: Sandra, Susan, Richard, Karen, Steve. Carpenter. Pitched the 1 and 3/4 turn, right handed. Was also a good 5-pin bowler with 260 average. Was the fourth generation of Hohl on the same land in Wellesley.
A legion of horseshoe pitching fans will contend that Elmer Hohl is the greatest horseshoe pitcher who ever lived. And they have much with which to document their case. In fact, his achievements could easily fill a book. In the following links/pages is a description of Elmer’s main exploits along with interesting articles written on this great horseshoe pitching “machine”.
First here’s a brief recap of his achievements:
His last tournament was pitched in 1986 and when he passed away on September 1, 1987, the sad news was quickly spread through the media, people hearing about it on radio.
His debut: Elmer’s first appearance in a sanctioned tournament was on May 21, 1956 at Richmond Hill. There he defeated Dean McLaughlin in his first match but he did not win the tournament. His first appareance in major tournaments was in 1957 when he won both the Ontario and Canadian championships. He was already 38 years old! Elmer pitched as a teenager with his father but it took a while before he joined the major competitions. Stan Fritz, who finished third in the Canadian championships from 1949 to 1952, is thought to be one of the main people who coaxed Elmer to join. On that matter, here’s a very interesting letter received from Walter Leis. It gives details about Elmer’s horseshoe activities before anybody ever heard of him in the competition circle:
I am writing a few words about our conversation in Greenville, concerning Elmer Hohl. Some of the details should be regarded as my opinion, as I was a ten year old boy at the time. In 1951, 52 and 53, Elmer, his brother Stan and friend Alvin Kropf from Wellesley and New Hamburg would visit my father’s farm outside Linwood. One attraction was that my father (Syd Leis) had the only clay horseshoe court in the area. The men would gather occasionally to enjoy home-made cider, apple pie, and throw some horseshoes into the pit under the apple tree. Elmer had a favourite saying he would utter on his follow through while throwing a double. On the first ringer he would say, “There’s the peach.” With the second shoe Elmer concluded with, “and the cream”. I believe Elmer had not played much competitive horseshoes at the time. Accurate ringer percentages were not kept of the Sunday afternoon’s proceedings, but on good day they may have pitched 50 to 55% ringers. Elmer liked the competition and was always a little better than the rest of the men on those Sunday afternoon games. My father and Alvin Kropf were regular doubles partners at horseshoe competitions in the area. Having some success, they encouraged Elmer to try competing.
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