The Summerland Horseshoe Club is turning 60 years old this summer.
The club has 20 active members, with three new members joining just last week.
Ron and Arlene Moser, joined the club five years ago and Ron is now serving as club president.
“We were looking at an activity for our retirement and to get a little more connected with the community,” explained Arlene. “Ron suggested we check out the horseshoe club and the first time we went he was hooked.”
“It’s a very social game,” said Ron. “The neat thing about it too, you meet a whole wack of new friends and there’s no physical demands. You don’t have to be a five star athlete to do this.”
As president, Ron’s focus for the last couple of years was to “get things cleaned up” and to have two extra pits put in. Working with the city, and the other members, he has accomplished this.
“The city helped us out a lot this year,” said Arlene. “Some of the pits had tree roots coming up in them and they were all uneven. B.C. Seniors games have given us some support money too, for needed equipment, so we’ve had a really big boost this year.”
The club pitched in $2500 towards the upgrades and lots of “sweat equity,” too.
“I’d really like to thank the city, the Parks and Recreation department and the local merchants who donate prizes for the annual tournament,” said Ron.
Because of having the two extra pits now, which brings the number up to twelve, the club is in a position to host the Interior Kootenay Tournament. They plan to apply to the Horseshoe Association of B.C. for this chance and they feel they are almost guaranteed to get it.
This will not only benefit the club, but also the community as well. People will travel here from all over B.C. for the two day event, staying, eating and shopping in our town.
Horseshoe tournaments are designed with fairness in mind.
“We have some people who are very skilled and have won B.C. Championships and we’ve got some that can maybe hit the sand pit,” Arlene explained. “It doesn’t matter.”
The Mosers explained that in order to play in a tournament, you have to belong to a club. Every new member starts out pitching 50 horseshoes to find out what they’re percentage is and then that percentage is posted on the B.C. Horseshoe Association’s website. During a tournament, players will only throw against others of the same skill level.
“It’s all very fair, which is really nice,” said Arlene. “Those people who aren’t very good can be at the same tournament as someone who is world class.”
Each contestant pays $15 to play in the tournament and all the money goes back to the players by way of prizes, with none of the money going to the club. As a non-profit club, money is raised through their breakfasts, raffles, 50/50 draws and the beer garden.
Playing horseshoes is not all about tournaments though.
People are welcome to drop in and play with members for free whenever they are playing. The sand pits are available for use by the public at any time, if they have their own horseshoes.
“Anybody can come and play,” said Ron. “You don’t need horseshoes, you don’t have to join up, it’s all free. We have horseshoes and everything there for people.”
Of course the club always welcomes new members and their membership fee is only $25 per year. They practise Tuesday and Thursday evenings.
Anyone belonging to a club in Canada is sanctioned to play in tournaments in the U.S.
To new members, Ron would say, “Come out, meet some people and join the most inexpensive sport in town!”
Coun. Richard Barkwill is scheduled to open the club’s annual tournament, being held on Aug. 6 and 7, at the clubhouse and horseshoe pits in Memorial Park. There will be an extra $400 added to the pot for prize money and everyone will be enjoying a piece of birthday cake in celebration of the club’s 60th year here in Summerland.