Horseshoes: a Scott County tradition
Sunday, May 5, 2013
Horseshoe pitching season is gearing up in the area and Lachelle Cook is no stranger to the sport. Cook, who was raised in Chaffee, has been around the sport since she was a child, began playing professionally in the 1990s and helps local organizations coordinate their tournaments.
The sport is a favorite pastime in the area and beginning in April a horseshoe pitching tournament can be found nearly every weekend in the area continuing until October.
Horseshoe pitching from origins can be traced the first century when Roman soldiers played a game called Quiots. Grecian armies transformed the then-popular game of quoits when they were not able to afford the equipment needed and began using discarded horseshoes.
In 1869 England set up rules to govern the popular game among soldiers during wartime. As the soldiers returned home they would teach their family and friends how to play the game, spreading the hobby to American soil.
The National Horseshoe Pitchers Association rules were derived from Civil War days when mule shoes were used throughout Union Camps during the Civil War.
Q: What is the object of pitching horseshoes and why do you enjoy playing?
A: The object of the game is to make ringers; to toss a horseshoe around the stob. We pitch with Gordon brand horseshoes. Women pitch from 30 feet away and men throw at 40 feet. I have just always enjoyed pitching horseshoes; it's fun and I have always been told I am a natural.
Q: How did you get introduced to the sport?
A: My Dad (Dub Cook) introduced me to the sport. He was really involved in the sport back in the '80s and was very good. In 1996 I started pitching with him in the backyard.
Q: Can anyone play in the tournaments and where can these tournaments be found?
A: Yes anyone can come play in the tournaments. You pay $5 and partners are drawn. From April to October, you can find a local tournament almost every weekend: Scott City, Leopold, New Hamburg, Jackson, Benton, the Backyard Club in Glenallen and other local communities have tournaments whether it be a Knights of Columbus, Jaycee or other club sponsored event. We average about 14 teams per tournament.
Q: What are your accomplishments in the sport?
A: In the past seven years I have been the high point winner for our division; in 2012 I was invited to the World Tournament in Wentzville to compete against teams from all over the United States where I finished in the top 10. I currently rank second statewide in the women's division and in 2012 I was inducted into the SEMO Horseshoe Association Hall of Fame for my involvement with the league.