A Labor Day weekend without the aforementioned horseshoe tournament just isn’t complete, at least in my book. This year’s event was scheduled for Saturday, September 3rd. Last year’s tournament got delayed by rain. If I remember correctly the 9:00 a.m. start turned into a 1:00 p.m. start.
This year was looking better, at least to my eyes. I woke up and looked out across Plunkett Pond to see a mostly cloudy sky, with a few teasing streaks of sunlight poking through. I took these sparse rays as a good sign, but as it turned out it was raining pretty steadily by the time I found my way up to the horseshoe pits behind the VFW in Sherman. I knew it was a good sign that there were already 8-10 participants ready to go at just after 8:30 a.m. We just had to wait out a few raindrops.
The action started just a little late, around 9:30. This is a partners tournament, and the partners are drawn randomly (with wooden pills) for every game. Saturday we decided amongst ourselves to play 10 games. With 18 registered participants, we could either have a bye round or have each player play one round of singles play to make things come out evenly. We decided on the latter. Games were played to 30 points, and the amount of points each team ended up with got added to a running total. For instance, if I was on a team that won the first game 30 to 16, my tally (and my partner’s) would start at 30, and our opponents would start out with 16. Make sense?
There was a really good range of players in the group, and everyone was mainly looking to have some fun on a late summer day in Maine. Drawing new partners for every match evens things out quite well. It makes for some interesting scenarios as matches get decided.
At roughly the halfway point I had lost two games, one with 27 points and one with 16. I was still in the hunt for first place, although a few players were undefeated until the 6th or 7th round. Another interesting aspect of this type of tournament is that you usually end up throwing a pair of shoes that are not your own before the day is through. Partners throw the same pair of shoes in any given game. Some players are willing to throw shoes that might be unfamiliar, and others are not. So it goes. I ended up throwing my own shoes in all but 2 games.
As the tournament was winding down it was looking more and more like one particular player had a lock on first place. I’m pretty sure he had only lost one game going into the final round, and his point total seemed insurmountable. For the very last game I had the good fortune of drawing a partner who was shooting very well, and we were matched up against the leader. My partner and I both started off strong, and didn’t let up. We won the final match 30 to 6. That shook up the leader board enough to propel my partner into first place and myself into second. It was my best finish yet in this tournament.
Back to my last post momentarily… I didn’t make the cut for the club playoffs that will be held next weekend. No matter. It was a great year at the Hamilton Horseshoe Club. My next tournament will be in Andover, NH on October 1st.