Scottsbluff to host 2016 State Horseshoe Pitching tourney
     2014-11-20      By Kay Grote    editor@geringcitizen.com
Photo by Kay Grote/Gering Citizen - Horseshoe tosser Riggin McKnight makes a good throw during the OT Days Horseshoe Tournament held Saturday, July 12, 2014 at Oregon Trail Park. 
For the first time in nearly 10 years, western Nebraska will host the Nebraska National Horseshoe Pitchers Association (WNNHPA) tournament.

“We’re pretty excited about it. This is the first time in quite a while that the State tournament has been in western Nebraska. They’re even excited about it in eastern Nebraska. They want come out here,” said Western Nebraska National Horseshoe Pitchers Association President Tim Shaske. The tournament is slated for Labor Day weekend 2016 at Frank Park in Scottsbluff.

The effort to generate more interest, build a club and make a bid for the state tournament started just a year ago when a group of pitching enthusiasts formed a local club, the Iron Chukars.

“The horseshoe pitchers who were sanctioned here really took the initiative,” Shaske said. “Up until last year there really hadn’t been much interest but we had about 45 people sanctioned in the area. We started talking to other people around the state and found out that a lot of people were interested in having it back out here.”
Shaske said members in the eastern side of the state were very supportive and told the fledgling group if they could organize it, others would come.

“They said, yes, please, we want to come out to western Nebraska. So they voted on it and it was accepted,” Shaske said.

The year-old Iron Chukars group was formed last November with the driving guidance of current club director John Booker. Since then the group has formerly organized under the bylaws of the WNNHPA and elected officers. Diane McKnight is club president. The group also got busy to build an indoor pitching facility in a horse barn located on the west edge of Scottsbluff on Farmstead Road, complete with six pits. Shaske said the group is able to pitch year-round now.

Membership in the Iron Chukars has grown during the past 12 months, starting from an original group of 13 members. The group’s goal now is to get 30 consistent and committed members in order to have regular practices and tournaments.

“We would really like other pitchers to join one of our leagues, either with us or in Sidney, or just join the Western Nebraska National Horseshoe Pitchers Association. We’re really looking forward to the next year, to grow our membership, keep practicing and host a really great state tournament,” Shaske said.

The next sanctioned tourney will be held Sunday, Dec. 14 at 12:30 p.m. at the pitching club barn located at 180244 Farmstead Road (County Road 19 North of Golf Course but South of Hwy 26 and then 4th house on left), west of Scottsbluff. New members can pay the annual league dues of $24 the day of the tournament to become a sanctioned member, which allows participation in any sanctioned tournament in the state. League play will begin March 1. For more information contact Diane McKnight (308) 641-6699 Club President, John Booker (308) 631-7530 Club Director, or Tim Shaske (308) 641-3377.

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