Chukars host horseshoe tournament
     2015-07-09      By Doug Harris    dougharris@geringcitizen.com
Photo by Doug Harris/Gering Citizen - Iron Chukars Club member John Booker throws a winning pitch at last year's Oregon Trail Days Horseshoe Tournament. 
The annual OTD Horseshoe Tournament got started up again last year after a brief hiatus and the event proved to be very popular with pitchers as well as spectators. A remarkable amount of dings and clangs could be heard last year as it seemed almost every pitcher was getting a ringer on every toss. Event organizer Tim Shaske said the turnout last year was great and he expects the tournament to grow. “We had a goal of 40 throwers and I was glad we reached it last summer,” Shaske said.

The OTD Horseshoe Tournament is not a sanctioned event although many of the pitchers are members of the West Nebraska Charter of the National Horseshoe Pitching Association. “For OT Days this is what we call a ‘fun tourney,’” Shaske said. “Everyone is welcome to come and play. We’ll get you signed up and get an idea of your skill level so everyone can compete and have fun.”

Shaske said last year they divided participants into A and B divisions so casual players wouldn’t be facing some of the regional horseshoe aces.

The event will take place at the Oregon Trail Park pits on Saturday, July 11 with pre-registration starting at 12:30 p.m. “We like to get everyone signed up ahead of time so we can start at 1 p.m. but we know with the parade and everything else going on Saturday we’ll allow for folks coming at the last minute,” Shaske said. There is a $10 entry fee to join in the tournament with plaque trophies to be awarded to top finishers. “All the money goes back into the Oregon Trail Days Committee,” Shaske said, “it helps pay for the trophies and awards.”

Shaske added that he was glad to see the tourney has been revived. “I approached the OTD Committee last year and they were happy to have it back,” he said. “This is my second year running it.” When asked his credentials to host the tournament Shaske said, “Well … I like to play horseshoes. Actually I’m the public relations guy for the Scotts Bluff Horseshoe League named ‘The Chukars’ and I’m also the president of the West Nebraska Charter of the National Horseshoe Association.

“We have a great time and there are some really good players in this area, Shaske said. “We mix it up so the competition is fair. Men and women play together. I know several women in this area who are great pitchers.” Shaske said the tournament can last from three to five hours. People are encouraged to bring along umbrellas for shade and coolers with water and soda as it can get very hot at the park. For more information people can call Tim at (308) 641-3377. “Tell them I work nights so they should leave a message and I’ll get back to them,” Shaske said. “I’d be happy to answer any questions. We hope for a great turnout and everyone is welcome to play or watch. Some of the best pitchers in the area will be there. We have a lot of fun.”

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