Rural Missouri - May 2020 - 21

Virgil McCown, who owns and manages the
Good Luck Horseshoe Courts in Bucyrus
with his wife, Donra, demonstrates one of
many throwing styles.Virgil was the 2019
world champion runner-up in the men's
senior division (age 60 and older) and Donra
has been ranked among the top 20 women
pitchers in the world.

area, Virgil says, for the St. Pats Open and other all-day
tournaments. Donra is a championship pitcher and cooks
food for the competitors.
	 "Any age that wants to compete can pitch," Virgil
says. "I had one player who was 90 years old and pitched
holding on to his walker."
	 Along with backyard clubs, five other horseshoe clubs
in Missouri host tournaments on indoor courts. South
of St. Louis, in Crystal City, Festus Horseshoe Club
members play in a dairy-truck garage they converted into
a clubhouse. Fred Smetzer, tournament director, says the
club has four courts and 75 members, who divide into
groups to practice during the week. The sessions provide
exercise - pitching horseshoes is better for burning
calories than weightlifting, according to some sources -
and a reason to get out of the house in winter. Weekend
tournaments add the goal of improving your game and are
an inexpensive way to be involved in a competitive sport,
Fred says.
	 Near Sunrise Beach, horseshoe pitchers compete
throughout the winter at The Pits, which Jim Bainter
created in a warehouse 10 years ago. In addition to the
Frosted Pumpkin Open, the Turkey Stakes and five other

tournaments, Jim runs three horseshoe leagues at the
Pits, winter home of the Lake of the Ozarks Horseshoe
Club, which has 15 courts.
Pitchers in the Kansas City area play at the Don Harris
Arena in Liberty, home of the Liberty Horseshoe Club
and the Heart of America (Kansas City) Horseshoe Club.
Located in Liberty's Stocksdale Park, it has 10 courts. 	
The largest indoor pitching venue in Missouri is the
Quail Ridge Horseshoe Club in Wentzville, west of St.
Louis. The complex also is home to the National Horseshoe
Pitchers Association Hall of Fame and museum. With 16
courts and a pit crew, it is billed as the finest horseshoe
facility in the world.
	 "We are unique in Missouri because we have so many
indoor facilities," says Donna Bastel, former regional
director of the MOHPA. "Many of the states don't have
tournaments in the winter because they don't have indoor
courts."
	 According to Ron Highley, state president, the Missouri
Horseshoe Pitching Association is the largest of 54
horseshoe pitching associations in the United States and
Canada. Established in 1921, the Missouri association
also boasts the largest sanctioned club in the nation.
MAY 2020 | RURALMISSOURI.COOP

21


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Rural Missouri - May 2020

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Rural Missouri - May 2020 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - May 2020 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - May 2020 - Contents
Rural Missouri - May 2020 - 4
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