Horseshoe Q&A  [21-40]  [41-60]  [61-80]   [101-120]   [121-140]   [141-160]    [161-180]


Comments: Dear Walter Ray, Great website. My name is Joe McCrink - a fellow horseshoe pitcher from New Jersey. I'm happy for you with all your success in Bowling and of course horseshoes. I'm sure all your fans really appreciate this website.

I saw you have compiled a list of sanctioned perfect games on the NHPA website. It didn't surprise me to learn that you have the most and longest perfect games. I was fortunate enough to throw one myself this year. It was the second one in my pitching career, I had another back in 1989. Neither one compares to some of your perfectos, like that 56 shoe game you threw back in 1977 and two others you threw that were 50 shoes long - Thats Incredible.

For the next time your updating the perfect games list heres the information from my game thrown earlier this year:

Joe McCrink - NJ, Date 05-19-01, Location Middlesex NJ, Opponent John Forti, Shoes Pitched 20, Division Mens 40 feet, Tournament New Jersey State Memorial, Tournament sanction #51-01-014.Good luck with both of your very successful careers.

Joe McCrink

Hi Joe,

It is nice to hear from you. I will update the records that I keep on perfect games. Unfortunately I don't always get the information when a perfect game is pitched. I know that you are one of the best pitchers in the sport of horseshoe pitching and look forward to competing against you. Hopefully you can make the World tournament in years to come to give Alan and Brian some good competition!


Comments: I am a bowler and a horseshoe pitcher and enjoy both. I average 177 as a bowler and have held this average for 20 years. I have pitched shoes off and on for 25 years. I have tried pitching every turn and the 1 1/4 reverse works the best for me as I have trouble releasing the shoe flat with other turns. I really got into pitching the last 5 years, but have only raised my percentage from 13% to 20 %. I feel that I am missing out on something. I have viewed all of the tapes and read most of the books. Could you list a few of the most important things I could try that might help me improve. I know this is a difficult request without seeing me pitch. Thanks and good luck with your bowling.

Hi Dick,

It is great that you enjoy horseshoe pitching and bowling. The 1 & 1 / 4 reverse turn is a very good turn to use in horseshoes. Some of the things which you can work on is getting a really good follow through in both sports. Work on your form and it should really help your game to improve. Of course practice is always a great way to improve. Good luck.


Comments: Hello Mr. Ray,It has been 11 months since picking up my 1st horseshoe and your name is one that many people here in Hawaii mentions. Question: Will your schedule in the future include a trip to Hawaii?Questions: I am currently a 30 ft. pitcher and would like to pitch at 40. To me a 40 foot shoe being pitched is so much more beautiful to watch. Do you have any opinions on women throwing 40 ft.and competing against men for any state championship?

Hi Lynette,

I don't have any plans to go to Hawaii soon. I have been there several times. But now I live in FL and the weather is almost as good in FL as in HI.

You may pitch from any distance you would like from 27 feet to 40 feet. But I don't believe that the rules for state and the World competition will allow you to compete against the men in those tournaments. Other tournaments they shouldn't mind if you compete against them. But some men might.

If you were interested in becoming really good I would stay with the 27 foot foul line. If you ever did get really good and decided to go to the World tournament, you would be at a disadvantage against the other women. Mary Ann Peninger from KS used to pitch about 50% from 37 feet and I suggested that she move up to 27 feet and now she averages 75-80% and is one of the top ladies in the world. I have known a couple of other ladies who pitched from 37 feet at over 50%, but they don't compete any more.

Virginia Beach

Comments: Hi, I've admired Walter Ray bowling and heard he was a champion horseshoe player...what is the highest number of consecutive ringers that you've thrown...also can you explain how to hold the shoe when u throw it.../mel

Hi Mel,

In practice I have pitched 114 ringers in a row. In a tournament I have twice had 56 ringers in a row in one game. Over back to back games I have had 68 ringers in a row.

There are many ways to hold a horseshoe. I use a finger tip grip which has the shoe resting on the tips of the fingers and wrapping the thumb around the other side so that the thumb is between the middle and index finger. I used to throw a 1 & 1 / 4 which has the open end to the left when holding the shoe to your face and your hand is on the bottom of the shoe. I now throw a 1 & 3 / 4 (actually 1 & 7 / 8) where the shoe is open towards the sky and to the right at about 45 degrees. When I pitch the shoe I rotate the shoe slightly at the point of release in a very slow frisbee turn. You don't want to get 'wristy' when you release the shoe as it will be very difficult to control.


Comments: Just a quick question from your cousin, Heidi...How are expensive tournament horseshoes different than the old rusty ones laying around in the horseshoe pit in my backyard? Please respond to settle this current family argument. Thanks!

Hi Heidi,

Most horseshoes that you find in most peoples back yard are bought at a store somewhere. They tend to be more of a round 'U' shape as opposed to tournament shoes which you usually can only get through mail order are more of a square 'U'. The balance is a bit different and the temper of the tournament shoes is usually 'softer' so that they won't bounce as much but they will wear out faster. Tournament players mostly use shoes purchased through mail order, but the Diamond tournament shoes and American shoes are used by a few tournament players and can be found in some stores. Mail order shoes are about $50 per pair as opposed to store shoes which can run as low as $20 for 4 shoes (2 pairs). But I wouldn't use store shoes in competition and not to many other top players would either.

It was nice to hear from you Heidi.

Linus   June, 2001

Comments: Thanks for your web page. I am E mailing For all Of Walter Rays fans here both In Bowling and Horseshoes. We think Walter is a fine example to us all, and to our children. May God Bless Him , his friends, and family .I don't think he realizes How many fans he has around the world truly a Godsend. We would like to know If he has any videos of him pitching horseshoes? We would be interested in purchasing them if possible. Also we can not find any books or videos on how to hold a horseshoe or how to pitch them.
thank you

Hi Linus,
Thanks for your kind words. I don't have any videos for sell yet, but I will try and get some video clips on the website some day. There aren't to many books on pitching horseshoes. The best one would probably be Pitching Championship Horseshoes by Ottie Reno (1973 I think). There are a couple of videos others have done - Carl Steinfeldt might be the best.

Go to and click on the middle of the left where it says Shoes & More and then click on Books and Videos . That should get you to a page where you can order both of these items.

I'll work on that video stuff when I get home.


Comments: Hey, I'm just wondering what is the best way to throw a horseshoe? I know it's different for everyone, but I just want to know your way and/or the most popular one.

I have been unsure for awhile and have thrown with my thumb on the little hinge thing or that upside down and trying to get it to flip.

Hi Simon,

For men pitching 40' a 1 & 1 / 4 or 1 & 3 / 4 turn seems to be the best way. For the 30' pitchers (women, juniors, elder and handicapped men) pitching a flip or 3/4 is also effective, but I would still teach a 1 & 1 / 4 turn from there also. The reverse turns seem to be very good from any distance.

A turning shoe is kind of like a slow turning frisbee, but the wrist really doesn't do much.

Bay St. Louis

Comments: where did horseshoes originate? I am 13 years old and love to play horseshoes. I have always wondered when I play also who developed it.

The earliest records of horseshoe pitching are from the late 1800's.  Organized horseshoes began in the 1900's.  The NHPA came into being in the 1920's.  We aren't exactly sure who "invented" the game.  You can check out for more great information about the game.


Comments: Dear Walter Ray, Love your web site. Am just new to league horseshoe pitching. My Dad is a good pitcher and finally I (I am 43) decided to join him in a league. Am throwing a flip/turn kind of throw, but beginning to try a 3/4 shoe. Right now can throw the unorthodox shoe better than the 3/4. Would you advise me to just go to the 3/4? Practicing and throwing 3-4 times per week, can I expect the 3/4 to pass the unorthodox throw relatively soon? Really enjoy throwing horseshoes and the camaraderie, but wish I did not suck so bad. (HA) Thanks, Appreciate your reply.
Craig Houpt

Hi Craig,

My opinion is that a regular 3 / 4 turn isn't a great turn for a top pitcher. There are a couple of men in the top 100 who use this method, but it is similar to a flip which isn't nearly as effective as a 1 & 1 / 4 or 1 & 3 / 4 turn or a reverse turn. For some reason the 3 / 4 reverse turn has been very effective for a couple of top pitchers (Curt Day and Alan Francis) as well as other reverse turns.

Since I don't know what your other turn is I can't say whether I think that a 3 / 4 would be better or not. If you could find a top pitcher (somebody who averages over 50%) and ask them to watch you, they could give you some advice based on a visual observation.

Good luck and practice whatever throw you decide to use.


Comments: My husband is a civil war reenactor and likes to pitch horseshoes. He thought that horsehoes would be a good way to pass the time in an authentic way - if the game was played then. Has the game been around since that time? Thanks for your help.

Hi Cecile,

Organized horseshoe pitching has only been around since 1909. There are stories that President Lincoln may have pitched horseshoes. I am sure that some pitching of horse's shoes happened in the 1860's. Not much was recorded on this.



Hi Clyde,

The rules for horseshoes have only maximums, no minimums. The maximum weight is 2 pounds 10 ounces. If you go to there is much information on pitching horseshoes that should be of use to you.


First thanks for you guys going to the six pac last week. Gave me a chance to finish in the money at the Carolina Dogwood. Just joking. Hope you come back next year. My question is what do you think is the one thing that all top percentage pitchers have in common? I know it takes several different things combined but from observing tapes of all the top pitchers there is one thing I see in common. They all have a great follow through with an full high extention at the release of the shoe no matter if they pitch a 1 1/4 ,3/4 reverse , 2 1/4 or even a flip which drives the shoe to the stake. I have not seen one that short arms the pitch. Do you agree with this?

Hi Rick,

I have always thought that a great follow through is one of the best things that a bowler or a horseshoe pitcher can do for themselves.

I'll be bowling up in N.C. the first 2 weekends of May. Maybe I'll see you there.


Comments: How are you doing Walter ray? I think your the greatest bowling and horseshoe player of all time. This is my third year at 40 feet in the mens division my percentage is 48. I sometimes get nervous before tournaments, do you ever get nervous .who got you into horseshoe pitching. I shoot a turn and a quarter and use deadeye clydesdales. I think your seventh mens world title is coming real soon, good luck.

Could you please reply and give me any types on improving my game,and maybe oneday I'll get the honor of playing you.I think your site is awesome.

Hi Shane,

Thanks for the kind words. I do get nervous before I compete, but it affects me differently depending on how I feel. If I am confident (I should be confident all the time, but for some reason I'm not) the nerves usually don't bother me.

Practice and having a good strong follow through should help you improve. I am looking forward to playing against you in the future.

Laurie    March, 2001

Comments: I was wondering exactly how worldly the World Horseshoe Pitching Pitching Championship is. Is it always held in the United States and does it draw participants from outside North America?

Hi Laurie,

Like the 'World Series' in baseball, the competitors are mainly from United States and Canada. There have been entries from Norway, South Africa, Japan, & Australia, but the top players are from the U.S. and Canada. It was hosted outside of the U.S. in 1997 up in Kitchener, Canada and will be hosted up in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada next summer. This year's event will be held up in Hibbing, MN July 29 to August 11.

Dave   Feb, 2001

Dear Walter Ray,
I'm currently trying to learn the 1 1/4, Right now I'm flipping at @ 20%. Have been throwing about 9 months and I'm 43 yrs. old. I used to throw as a kid but was never much good. Have always lead with my right leg forward and am very comfortable that way. I have lots of videos of pitchers including you as a teen and at some tournaments and exhibitions. My question is as the shoe leaves your hand at your release point is the shoe level or parallel to the ground or is your wrist/hand level/parallel level to the ground or is it both? I'm like you and am always trying to analyze things to figure out how things work. My shoe turns pretty decent and I'm usually close in the pit but my shoe usually lands on its side or rolls alot. Hoping to see you at the Ringer Classic in Greenville, OH. if its in your schedule. Thanx, and many strikes and ringers to you.

P.S. Watch you on ESPN every chance your're on

Hi Dave,

When you say you lead with your right leg, does that mean that you step with it and you are right handed. That is considered unorthodoxed, but there have been many top pitchers who did that. If you are serious about getting really good at pitching horseshoes I would encourage you to try to learn a turning shoe. You might need to find somebody help you in person. It is rather difficult to describe the exact motion in words, but I'll try.

These are for a right hander, a left hander would do the opposite. To turn the shoe, the arm does a very simple movement while it swings. As the arm is passing your leg on the way to the back-swing and up to let it go, the thumb should be towards the leg with the fingers being on the outside of the shoe. This should be the normal position your arm should be in if you were walking. On the way up to release the shoe your arm should rotate about 90 degrees so that your thumb will be on top of the shoe and the fingers are under the shoe. This slight rotation will give the shoe a slight natural turn. I would recommend starting at a close distance, say 20 feet and pitch 20-100 shoes until the turn feels somewhat natural. Scoot back about 10 feet and pitch another 20-100 shoes. Move back another 5 feet and pitch another 20-100 shoes. Hopefully this will allow you to still have a good feel for how to turn the shoe. Remember to work on your form and have a good follow through.

I am planning on being at the Ringer Classic this year, but you never know.

Rick   Jan, 2001
Lenoir NC
My question is I read on the NHPA Page an article about the 3/4 reverse being a freak shoe and can't be consistently pitched. Alan Francis seems to do all right with it. What is your opinion on it? (P.S. it's an old article.)

Hi Rick, I don't know which article you are referring to about the 3/4 reverse turn being a 'freak' turn. That person obviously never saw Curt Day or Alan Francis pitch horseshoes! They are 2 of the best to ever play the game. It might not be as popular of a delivery, but it is obviously a very good way to pitch horseshoes. There are many 'right' ways to do things as there are many wrong ways also. But just because it is different doesn't mean that it is bad.


Comments: Hey Walter, I pitch shoes with a buddy of yours called "Burly" or "the Old Goat".. He told me a story about you pitching shoes at about the age of 10 and throwing a large number of ringers in a row. You came home and told you father. He didn't believe you until a bunch of people told him the same. Is that true? How much did you practice at that young age? That's unreal! I bowl and pitch shoes and can't understand how much you catch on so fast! Are you human!?? Come on...tell the truth!!

Hi Mike, I don't remember this exact event that you describe, but I think I overheard my dad tell 'Burly' something about it. I do remember that my dad didn't think I was quite as good as I was, because I was so young. I used to pitch about an hour or two everyday that I could from the age of 9 until about 22. I improved very rapidly and finished 2nd at the JR. world championships when I was ten. That is where I got the nickname of Deadeye. I am not sure why I improved so fast, but I just remember wanting to pitch. Yes I am human, just ask my wife!

East Hartford,

Comments: Hi WR, I like the web site. Debby Michaud sent it to me this morning. I see you played a horseshoe tournament yesterday. We had a good field here yesterday as well. Had 14 entries over 60%. Snow cost us two but we made up two 6 man classes and advance the top six to a playoff6 man round robin. Brain was his usually self-shooting 83% Too bad the tour schedule doesn't get you closer. Can't tell you how many ask when you might be here again. Sure would love for you to see this scoring system. I built it all and it even impresses me at times. Best wishes for the new year and continued success out on the tour. BTW we have caught you on TV on several occasion of late and its good to see you back on top of your game. Take Care, Don

Hi Don, I wish that I could have attended your tournaments. It doesn't look like I will be near CT for quite a while. But you never know. I would like to see your scorekeeping system someday.

Noel    Jan, 2001

Comments: I remember a horseshoe tourney. I pitched against you just a few years ago in San Jose, Ca. It was scratch play & 40 shoes. At about the 12 shoe point I was ahead 13 to 12, and people started to gather around....that's the last I remember! The very best on this new site.---Noel Guy

Hi Noel, Nice to hear from you. Hope you guys get a good site for your replacement horseshoe courts. Hope to see you on the courts some time in the future.

John   Jan, 2001

Comments: Dear Walter Ray: Aside from the financial differences, would you rather bowl or pitch horseshoes or do you prefer doing what you are doing best at the time? You are my role model. Keep up the good work.

Hi John, I used to prefer to pitch horseshoes, but I don't play quite as well as I used to so I guess it is a toss up. I basically like competition. It helps if you happen to be good at it.

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