MONROE, La. (KTVE/KARD)– The World Horseshoe Pitching Tournament will be held on July 11-23 at the Monroe Civic Center. This two-week long event will feature players from across the globe competing for the championship title.
This event is free for the public to attend. The NHPA strives to promote and organize the sport and to standardize the rules, equipment, and playing procedures. The NHPA sanctions the Annual World Tournament, state association tournaments, regional events, and a league program.
A total of 649 athletes will be competing in the event with entries from the United States, South Africa, Norway, and Canada.
Moving up into the Women’s Division earlier than normal, is Sarah Chafee from Wisconsin. Sarah is just 16 years old and is the 2021 Junior Girls World Champion. Sarah entered the World Tournament this year with a ringer percentage of 88.3% and is ranked #1 with the highest percentage of the women’s division. Sarah will be on a mission to win her very first World Tournament in the Women’s Division. After becoming the first girl to pitch a perfect game in the girl’s championships in 2021 with 100% ringers, she is ready for the new competition.
Shalee Cason (FL), a four time Junior Girl’s champion, is also looking to capture her first title in the Women’s. Also, in the mix are identical twin sisters Marlene Ray (TN) coming in at 85.46% and Maxine Griffith (TN) entering at 83.05%. Always in the heat of battle are Theresa Howe (TX), Amy Francis (OH), Penny Steinke (WI), Lyne Pineault (PQ), Alena Lepak (WI), Pam Meyer (MO), and Kelly Glidwell (VA). Competition will be intense this year in the Prelims and Championship rounds in the Women’s Division.
Ron LeGrand (MO) is the defending World Champion for the Elder Men’s division and enters this World Tournament in 9th place. David Holmes (WV) enters as the #1 seed with an 80.7% and will try to repeat as Elders Champion with Russ Phillips (WA) as the #2 seed trying to recover the top spot. Russ is the 2011 champion. Roger Vogel (KS) 2017 champion in Utah, is looking to continue his success in Monroe. James Cooper (TN) will provide some strong competition pitching 75.14% and Jim Cooper (TN) is also hoping to be the spoiler.
Sheila Shepard (CO) is the defending champion for Senior Women. She will be going for her 9th title this year. Her competition will be after her again. Last year in Winnemucca, NV, Sheila pitched 55.26% for the Senior Women Division and ended with a 6-1 record. Her single loss came against Diane Luiz (CA). Sheila did not pitch her normal percentage that game with 37.5% and lost to Diane Luiz 43.75% with a 24-40 ending score. Sheila had the high game of the division with 75% against Laurie Lampkin (KY). She also pitched 70.59% against Sharon Chiddister (IN).
There was another 75% game pitched by Diane Luiz (CA) who ended with 2nd in the division ahead of Denise Haye (MO). Her 75% game came against Helen Laumbach (NM). Sharon Chiddister (IN) comes in with a 50.7% in 16th place, and she looks good to give Shephard a challenge. Returning contenders in this division are San Juanita Murray (TX), Linda Aurell (CT), Cindy Castellano (WI), Jan Knaub, (CO), Laurie Lampkin (KY), Patricia Pertuit (LA), Debby Michaud (MA), Denise Haye (MO), Diane Luiz (N-CA), Mary Fimbres (AZ), Barbara Carson (OH), and Julia Charlton (IN). Newcomers this year to the Women’s Senior Division are Toni Sloper (WI), Audra Craven (MO), Peg Ball (FL), Linda Dodson (LA), Jean Bullington (GA), Donne Becher (MO), Ellen Kovach (FL), Janet McFarland (NC), Sylvia Lobo (TX) and Janet Anzalone (CT).
Once again returning to defend his 2021 World Title, the “Desert Cowboy” Jacob Fimbres (AZ) aka Mr. “No-Step” will be looking to capture his second title win for 2022. Fimbres won the Valley of the Sun tournament early in February entering with a 66.24% and won his class with a 54.47.%. He keeps on trekking for a title. There are several newcomers in this division. Brian Simmons has entered the Senior Men’s Division for the first time and coming in with a 72.44%. Brian will be looking for his first Senior Men’s World Title. Also, on the list to beat this year will be Raymond Bedard (MA). PBA GOAT, Walter Ray Williams Jr. (FL) is a newcomer to the Senior Men’s Division. He has had early success with the Online Horseshoe Pitching scene, as he keeps challenging himself to get better. His ambidextrous pitching style is incredible, which style will he claim once competition begins? Rick Howe and Raymond Bedard both have made waves in the past.
The 2018 champion, Gary Roberts (OH) is the newly elected NHPA President this year and will be in the heart of the competition. Other contenders are Larry McAfee (MO), Ken Jones (NM), David Mallory (OK), Mark Seibold (FL), Dan Molineaux (RI), Bob Cadwallader (AR), Dennis Wilson (PA), Coye Allen (TX), and Isaiah Lee (AZ).
With the reigning Junior Boys Champion Riley Malino (CT) trying to defend his 2021 World Title, Riley is entering this year with a 55.87%. Walker Forrester (OK) will be looking for a Junior Boys World title this year entering in the #1 Seed with 72.81%. He is also a previous Cadets World Champion. He has an accurate single flip shoe. Lizy Jordan (CT) and Kaile Trujillo (NM) look to compete strongly with each other. Eli Sullivan from (VA), is making his very first appearance in a World Tournament in the Cadet Boy’s division, entering with an impressive 64.69%. Eli has won several tournaments and has been pitching very well. Adakai Begaye (N-CA) has his eyes set on another Cadet Boys title. He will need to sweep on past 5 other Cadet Boys to take the championship. The Cadet Girls Division has some competitors ready to go for the title. Crystal Knighten (AL) and MacKenzie Rasmussen, (MN) Last year, Evelyn Espinola (CA) averaged 25.83% with Mackenzie Rasmussen (MN) coming in 2nd.
Looking to take on his 26th World title in the Men’s Division this year, Alan Francis is cleaning up house in the OH charter early this summer with open tournament victories. One of the most competitive games in the division last year was with Alan Francis (OH) and Gary Bearpaw (OK). Gary finished with 82.29% against Alan’s 84.38% in a 41-34 loss to Alan. It was the closest that anyone came to giving a loss to Alan Francis in the 2021 Championships. Can Gary Bearpaw get any closer this year? Looking to break a record for the oldest man pitching the full distance of 40’ at 80 years of age is Gale Greene “Greene Machine” (VT). Matt Fuller (WA) comes in as #7 seed in prelims. Dan Watson (AL) is the #2 seed and will try to give Alan Francis serious competition in the prelims and Ben Webb from (KY) has been working on his game and will enter as the #3 seed just ahead of Gary Bearpaw (OK), who is coming in as the #4 seed. The competition will be fierce as the best of the best go head-to-head.