By Jeremy Wallace
TROY — The Miami County Fair horseshoe tournament is underway and one guest judge is a 19-time horseshoe tournament champion.
The Troy Horseshoe Club held an Open Tournament for horseshoe pitching on Saturday and Sunday. It was open to the public where winners from each competition received a check and a patch from the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association. Today through Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. each day, at the south end of the rabbit/poultry barn, a tournament will be held to crown the Troy Horseshoe Club champion, which will be crowned Wednesday. This individual will go on to compete in the National Horseshoe Pitching competition.
“We are looking forward to a great competition to find out who will be representing us at the national tournament,” Tom Kirk, president of the Troy Horseshoe Club, said.
The Troy Horseshoe Club started in 1978, and has been coming to the Miami County Fair ever since. The club started offering classes in the late ’90s. They group also uses this spot at the fairgrounds every Tuesday to practice.
One of the judges for this event is 19-time horseshoe tournament champion, Alan Francis. He has been competing since he was 9 years old. Jumping ahead 36 years, Francis is still playing in tournaments all over the United States and Canada.
“I had a passion to be the best. I watched my dad play for many years and that helped drive me to where I am today,’ Francis said.
It has become a family affair, his wife Amy also is a pitcher and has almost competed as long as her husband. It doesn’t stop there because their son Alex, who is 10, is a pitcher as well. After only three years of throwing Alex placed fourth in the 12 and under category in the world tournament.
“We encompass our family vacation around where the national tournament will be held that year,” Francis said.
The National Horseshoe Pitchers Association is a federation of 60 charters in the United States and Canada, each with numerous club affiliates and individual members. Each state association is self governing and some states have more than one charter.
This organization strives to promote and organize the sport. The top priority is to serve as a unifying agent between state associations, local clubs, unorganized groups and individual players. The NHPA sanctions the Annual World Tournament, state association tournaments, regional and open events and a league program.
Jeremy Wallace can be reached a 937-552-2199 or follow him on Twitter @TroyDailyNews