The 2002 World Horseshoe Pitching championships are in the books.
Sylvianne Moisan of Quebec won her 3rd consecutive Women's championship by winning all 15 games with an average of 86.0%. She was very impressive in her win as on the last day of competition she averaged over 89% against the top players. Not to be outdone by the women, Brian Simmons needed to win his last 2 games to clinch the Men's title and pitched back to back 93% games. One was against me and the other was against defending champion, Alan Francis. In all of the years of pitching I have never seen anyone pitch games like that with the title on the line. It is hard to compare this to bowling, because lane conditions are such an influence on scores in bowling, but it would be kind of like averaging 260 for about 16 games when the next highest average was about 230 or 240 with one match being 6 games long and the other being 10 games long. Brian ended up averaging 85.3% with one lone loss in the 15 games.

I started out my first 2 games on the last day still pitching on the uncomfortable side. Fortunately for me both of my opponents struggled and I won both games easily. My 3rd game of the day, 13 for the tournament, was against Alan Francis. He started slow and I started ok as I had done on several other games and then I started to have trouble as I have done on most of my games while he had 21 out of 22 to take a small lead in the game. I started to do something that felt halfway comfortable and started throw ringers at about the same time as Alan, but not quite at that pace. I finished the game going 2 doubles in a row, single until the finish of the game. Alan had a poor finish and I was able to beat him 42-31. Alan had his worst game of the day against me while I had one of my better games in the tournament. I was now up against Brian Simmons and if I could beat him, I would be in a 2 or 3 way tie for first place. I started out slow and Brian started out throwing lots of ringers. I had one nice stretch in the middle of the game where I had 25 ringers out of 28 shoes, but Brian had 26 out of 28 at the same time. Unfortunately for me I didn't keep that pace up and that was kind of a mediocre stretch for Brian as he only missed 4 times out of the 62 shoes it took to beat me.

I was now out of the running for the championship, but I was still trying to finish in 3rd place. I played against Jim Walters in the last game and he struggled at the start of the game with quite a few shoes bouncing off of the stake. I had a 30-8 lead when Jim decided to get tough and threw 24 ringers in a row and a stretch of 36 of 38 to get the score as close as 31-26. However I hung in there and threw 14 ringers in a row at the end of the game to win 40-26. This is the first time in quite a while, at least 8 years, when I felt like I had a clue as what to do in the world tournament. I kind of wish we were starting over. I don't know if I could beat Brian Simmons if he is on his game, but I feel like I might be able to pitch some games more like I am capable of. I guess I will have to wait until next year to see if I can.

If you are interested in checking out all of the results of the tournament, go to www.horseshoepitching.com. There are lots of stats and even some video of the pitching.

MENS DIVISION - CHAMPIONSHIP CLASS 2002 WORLD
   Player				   Wins Loss Rngrs  SP   R%
   1.Brian Simmons                 RI    14    1    761  892  85.31 
   2.Alan Francis                  OH    12    3    811  994  81.59 
   3.Walter Ray Williams Jr        FL    12    3    706  920  76.74 
   4.Paul LaCrosse                 CO    11    4    738  970  76.08 
   5.Jim Walters                   OH    10    5    727  966  75.26 
   6.Colin Finnie                  SK    10    5    616  886  69.53 
   7.Kurt Von Kleist               PA     9    6    708  948  74.68 
   8.Stanley Leis                  ON     8    7    573  818  70.05 
   9.Robert G Hayes                NY     7    8    564  832  67.79 
  10.Tom Gallina                   ON     6    9    680  950  71.58 
  11.Tom Westbrook                 SC     6    9    656  926  70.84 
  12.Ricky L Hall                  VA     5   10    526  804  65.42 
  13.Mark Seibold                  IN     4   11    528  818  64.55 
  14.Jerry LaBrosse                MN     3   12    472  772  61.14 
  15.Rich Pintor                   CO     2   13    563  872  64.56 
  16.Andre Leclerc                 PQ     1   14    372  676  55.03 
 
           MENS DIVISION - CHAMPIONSHIP CLASS 2002 WORLD
   1.Brian Simmons-RI                       2.Alan Francis-OH                  
   OPPONENT        SCORE    R  SP    %     OPPONENT        SCORE    R  SP    %
 1.Andre Leclerc-  42/  0  29  32  90.6  1.Jerry LaBrosse  42/ 18  50  58  86.2
 2.Jerry LaBrosse  45/  9  36  40  90.0  2.Mark Seibold-I  42/ 20  36  48  75.0
 3.Mark Seibold-I  40/ 15  36  44  81.8  3.Ricky L Hall-V  41/ 18  44  54  81.5
 4.Ricky L Hall-V  42/  7  43  50  86.0  4.Andre Leclerc-  45/ 18  35  50  70.0
 5.Tom Gallina-ON  40/ 22  49  58  84.5  5.Robert G Hayes  42/ 19  49  62  79.0
 6.Robert G Hayes  42/  4  27  30  90.0  6.Colin Finnie-S  40/ 18  47  56  83.9
 7.Colin Finnie-S  41/ 14  31  40  77.5  7.Tom Westbrook-  42/ 24  55  68  80.9
 8.Tom Westbrook-  40/  7  50  54  92.6  8.Tom Gallina-ON  35/ 40  62  78  79.5
 9.Paul LaCrosse-  38/ 40  69  92  75.0  9.Stanley Leis-O  41/  9  31  38  81.6
10.Rich Pintor-CO  45/  7  41  46  89.1 10.Kurt Von Kleis  40/  4  31  34  91.2
11.Stanley Leis-O  40/ 27  51  64  79.7 11.Rich Pintor-CO  41/ 23  52  64  81.3
12.Kurt Von Kleis  41/ 30  73  88  83.0 12.Paul LaCrosse-  41/ 36 103 122  84.4
13.Jim Walters-OH  40/ 25  62  78  79.5 13.Walter Ray Wil  31/ 42  58  76  76.3
14.Walter Ray Wil  43/  9  58  62  93.5 14.Jim Walters-OH  42/ 25  60  72  83.3
15.Alan Francis-O  42/ 15 106 114  93.0 15.Brian Simmons-  15/ 42  98 114  86.0
 W- 14   L-  1    621    761  892  85.3  W- 12   L-  3    580    811  994  81.6

   3.Walter Ray Williams Jr-FL              4.Paul LaCrosse-CO                 
   OPPONENT        SCORE    R  SP    %     OPPONENT        SCORE    R  SP    %
 1.Mark Seibold-I  40/ 23  59  78  75.6  1.Tom Westbrook-  27/ 41  45  64  70.3
 2.Ricky L Hall-V  41/  3  28  32  87.5  2.Tom Gallina-ON  42/ 29  57  74  77.0
 3.Andre Leclerc-  41/ 21  38  52  73.1  3.Robert G Hayes  41/ 21  34  46  73.9
 4.Jerry LaBrosse  40/  5  31  38  81.6  4.Colin Finnie-S  40/ 30  47  66  71.2
 5.Colin Finnie-S  33/ 40  47  66  71.2  5.Ricky L Hall-V  40/  4  35  42  83.3
 6.Tom Westbrook-  41/ 34  50  68  73.5  6.Andre Leclerc-  43/ 15  39  48  81.3
 7.Tom Gallina-ON  41/ 20  62  74  83.8  7.Jerry LaBrosse  40/  6  23  26  88.5
 8.Robert G Hayes  40/ 27  41  52  78.8  8.Mark Seibold-I  40/  8  33  42  78.6
 9.Rich Pintor-CO  41/ 32  64  84  76.2  9.Brian Simmons-  40/ 38  70  92  76.1
10.Paul LaCrosse-  35/ 40  40  62  64.5 10.Walter Ray Wil  40/ 35  42  62  67.7
11.Kurt Von Kleis  40/ 14  36  48  75.0 11.Jim Walters-OH  35/ 42  58  82  70.7
12.Stanley Leis-O  43/ 24  41  56  73.2 12.Alan Francis-O  36/ 41 100 122  82.0
13.Alan Francis-O  42/ 31  61  76  80.3 13.Kurt Von Kleis  40/ 30  62  78  79.5
14.Brian Simmons-   9/ 43  47  62  75.8 14.Rich Pintor-CO  37/ 41  59  80  73.8
15.Jim Walters-OH  40/ 26  61  72  84.7 15.Stanley Leis-O  40/ 17  34  46  73.9
 W- 12   L-  3    567    706  920  76.7  W- 11   L-  4    581    738  970  76.1
				   My  Opp		My   Opp
Game	Opponent		 Score  Ringers	Shs	Ringer %
 1.Mark Seibold-Indiana  40/ 23 59  55	78  	75.6 70.5
 2.Ricky L Hall-Virgini  41/  3 28  16 	32	87.5 50.0
 3.Andre Leclerc-Quebec  41/ 21 38  31	52	73.1 59.6
 4.Jerry LaBrosse-MN     40/  5 31  20	38 	81.6 52.6
 5.Colin Finnie-Saskatc  33/ 40 47  50 	66	71.2 75.8
 6.Tom Westbrook-S.C.    41/ 34 50  49 	68	73.5 72.1
 7.Tom Gallina-Ontario   41/ 20 62  54 	74	83.8 73.0
 8.Robert G Hayes-NY     40/ 27 41  37 	52	78.8 71.2
 9.Rich Pintor-Colorado  41/ 32 64  59 	84	76.2 70.2
10.Paul LaCrosse-Colora  35/ 40 40  42 	62	64.5 67.7
11.Kurt Von Kleist-PA    40/ 14 36  28	48	75.0 58.3
12.Stanley Leis-Ontario  43/ 24 41  35	56	73.2 62.5
13.Alan Francis-Ohio     42/ 31 61  58	76	80.3 76.3
14.Brian Simmons-R.I.     9/ 43 47  58	62	75.8 93.5
15.Jim Walters-Ohio      40/ 26 61  56	72	84.7 77.8
 		W- 12   L-  3   567    706 648  920 76.7 70.4
I ended up finishing 3rd place which isn't too bad for the way I have been playing lately. Hopefully I can remember what it was I was doing and stop all of the poor pitching which has been a part of my game over the past many years. I would like to win the world tournament again, but I will need to pitch much better than I have been doing in competition.

Walter Ray