Scottsbluff man tops division at World Horseshoe Tourney
     2015-07-30      By Doug Harris    dougharris@geringcitizen.com
Photo by Doug Harris/Gering Citizen - Tim Shaske of Scottsbluff is happy to share that he came in first place in the M-1 Division of the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association World Tournament in Topeka, Kan., earlier this month. This was Shaske’s first attempt in world-class competition after qualifying earlier this year. 
Tim Shaske qualified earlier this year to compete in the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association (NHPA) World Tournament in Topeka, Kan. Shaske travelled to Kansas with Alliance pitcher Sid Dubs who also qualified for the event. Shaske placed first in the M-1 Division competing against 15 other ringers from around the globe. Dubs came in 5th place in a separate division.

“Being a horseshoe player I had heard of the world tournament and I wanted to try it,” Shaske said. “So I paid a $130 entry fee and we headed east.”

Shaske said he competed July 13 through July 15, and was happy to win in his first sanctioned trip to world class competition.
“There were 94 total divisions,” he said. “A total of 1,402 people were involved.”

Shaske explained divisions are divided by age and gender as well as qualifying scores. “They even have junior or ‘cadet’ competition for teens under 18,” he added.

“Literally from around the world,” he said. “As long as people qualify they can come from anywhere. There were several competitors from Canada I know and we even got folks from Europe.”
Shaske said the NHPA has fairly strict rules and guidelines that must be followed in order to reach qualifying scores to enter into such high-level competition.

“It is fun to compete with various types of people,” he said. “I’m trying to get the word out around here that we play as members of the NHPA and it isn’t just people playing in the backyard.”
Shaske and Dubs were the only two qualifiers from the West Nebraska NHPA Chapter.

“Because Nebraska is so big, we have two charters: east and west. I’m the president of the West Nebraska NHPA Charter, and I’m also active with the local Iron Chuckars Horseshoe Club.”

He was awarded an impressive trophy and a patch reading ‘World Class Champion 2015’ as a result of his excellent play in Topeka.
“This doesn’t mean I’m the best in the world, but I was best in my division this year,” Shaske said.

“It is pretty exciting. I never thought I’d win in a world tournament when usually we just play in the backyard and drink beer. I especially didn’t think I’d win my first time there.”

Shaske placed second in his Division last year at the Nebraska NHPA tourney and plans to compete again in O’Neill on Labor Day.
The Iron Chuckars working with the West Nebraska NHPA will be hosting the state tournament of 2016 at Frank Park in Scottsbluff.

“It is always held on Labor Day,” he said. “To folks out east, to them, it is a whole different country out here. They are excited to come here.”

Shaske noted with the Annual Balloon Fest returning to the area as a Labor Day event more pitchers might bring along their families to the 2016 state tourney. “We are hoping for a good showing and we hope we can have it here every three years or so,” he said.

Shaske said he’s been playing horseshoes for about 15 years. “It started out as just being something for fun but then I got a more serious about it,” he said. “I’ve only played legit league play for two years.”

He said he and his friends would get together and play in his brother’s backyard and one day they started talking about forming an official league.

“One pitcher, John Booker, took the bull by the horns and did all the paperwork and we got our club started in November 2013. We’ve grown from 13 to 21 pitchers in two years and we’d like to keep growing.”
The Iron Chuckars meet west of Scottsbluff and throw indoors at an old horse arena.

“It is basically a Quonset building but we set it up and got it NHAP certified,” he said. “As of this May we also have five juniors who are under 18. Ed Harden is directing that with help from former state champ Bill Nelson.”

Shaske said with Harden and Nelson helping out the young Chuckars have some fire and seem to enjoy the friendly competition of it all.
“We’d like to grow the sport and bring it back to where it used to be,” he said.

For more information about the West Nebraska NHPA Charter or the Iron Chuckars Horseshoe Club they can call Tim at 308-641-3377.

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