Carolina Dogwood Festival Horseshoe Tournament Apr 26-27 2003
Here is my report on the Dogwood horseshoe pitching tournament held this last weekend in Statesville, NC. This popular tournament is hosted by Paul Stewart and the city of Statesville.

For those of you who don't know, Paul is the basis for the Stewlie Club which Gene Burlingame started. This is a group of mostly horseshoe pitchers who share friendship and support for each other. This group all started several years ago when Gene 'Burly' Burlingame was watching Paul pitch at the world tournament. I guess Paul wasn't doing very well because Gene put a paper bag over his head and said that he was a Paul Stewart fan and started the Stewlie club. This tournament had room for around 200 players, but was full by December.

The top 12 40' men were in the championship class. We played 11 40 point games over 2 days. 6 games the first day and 5 the next. The top 6 seeded players played against the bottom 6 in the first 6 games Saturday evening and the top 6 played against each other on Sunday afternoon.

My first game was against former South Carolina state champion Ronald Williams. Ronald really struggled and so even though I didn't pitch a very good game I won 41-7 with 70.6%. My 2nd game was against Ohio's Bob Lautenschleger. Bob pitched his worst game of the tournament and I won easily 41-9 as I had 83.3%. In the 3rd game I played against former Virginia state champion Ricky Hall. We were having a very close game with the score at 16-15 when I started throwing doubles. I ended up doubling out to win 40-15 and had my best game of the tournament of 89.3% with Ricky shooting 75%. Game 4 was against the South Carolina state champion Tom Westbrook.. Tom didn't pitch very well against me and I had a decent game as I pitched 82% in winning 40-8. In game 5 I played against another top pitcher from South Carolina, Randy Hudson. The last time I played Randy he beat me. Randy pitched around his average against me while I pitched a good game of 84.4% in winning 42-14. My last game of the first evening was against Bob Garber Jr. from Ohio who is the current Senior Men's world champion. I struggled a bit and Bob was having a pretty decent game. Bob had the lead most of the game and with the score tied at 38-38 Bob pitched a double first. I topped his double and came with a double of my own. Bob missed one of his shoes and I barely won 41-38 with 69..4%. The other top players, Jim Walters and Kurt Von Kleist lost their 6th games to leave me as the only player without a loss.

On the 2nd day I started my first game against Tennessee champion Shannon Foster. I had a poor start and never really got going until the very end, but Shannon pitched his best game against me as he beat me handily 41-19 as he pitched 82% against my 68%. I was now tied with Jim Walters with 1 loss while Shannon Foster and Kurt Von Kleist had 2 losses. In the 8th round I played Kurt Von Kleist, the current Pennsylvania state champion. We were having a very close game and I finally started to throw some ringers at the end to pull away and win 41-29 with 74.2%. Game 9 was against the New York state champion, Robert Jones. Robert struggled against me and I won easily 42-9 as I pitched 81.0%. I played against a former New York state champion, Bob Hayes. Bob pitched a nice game against me, but I also pitched a nice game and I won 41-24 with 81.7%. With 1 game to go, I was tied with Jim Walters with 1 loss. Jim is a past Jr. Boys world champion and runner up in the Men's world championship. Jim was also the defending champion of the Dogwood tournament and a past Ohio state champion. Jim had a horrible start in our match while I had a pretty good start. I started missing after I had a large lead, but fortunately Jim continued to struggle and I won the game 41-14 with 74.1%.

I wasn't overly thrilled about the way I won the tournament, but I did manage to pitch decent and keep my bad games from getting to bad. In the tournament next week in New Melle, Missouri, many of the same top players plus others will be there. I expect some better competition and I am hoping that I can pitch better, especially against the better players.
Rnd Opponent		Score	R	OR	SP	%	O%
 1. Ronald Williams, SC	41-7	24	14	34	70.6	41.2
 2. Bob Lautenschleger, OH	41-9	25	15	30	83.3	50.0
 3. Ricky Hall, VA		40-15	50	42	56	89.3	75.0
 4. Rom Westbrook, SC	40-8	41	31	50	82.0	62.0
 5. Randy Hudson, SC	42-14	54	44	64	84.4	68.8
 6. Robert Garber Jr, OH	41-38	50	49	72	69.4	68.1
 7. Shannon Foster, TN	19-41	34	41	50	68.0	82.0
 8. Kurt Von Kleist, PA	41-29	49	46	66	74.2	69.7
 9. Robert Jones, NY	42-9	34	23	42	81.0	54.8
10. Bob Hayes, NY		42-24	49	44	60	81.7	73.3
11. Jim Walters, OH	41-14	43	36	58	74.1	62.1
		10-1	430	453	385	582	77.8	66.2
40 Championship    
Pos    Name                 St   Won   Lost  Pts   Rgrs   R%
 1. Walter Ray Williams Jr. FL    10     1   430    453  77.84
 2. Jim Walters             OH     9     2   407    360  68.97
 3. Shannon Foster          TN     7     4   366    386  68.44
 4. Kurt Von Kleist         PA     7     4   410    442  66.37
 5. Tom Westbrook           SC     6     5   350    411  68.05
 6. Randy Hudson            NC     6     5   364    449  67.62
 7. Bob Hayes               NY     6     5   348    384  67.37
 8. Ricky Hall              VA     5     6   343    395  63.92
 9. Robert Garber Jr        OH     4     7   389    425  64.98
10. Bob Lautenschleger      OH     3     8   306    341  60.46
11. Robert Jones            NY     3     8   304    336  58.54
12. Ronald Williams         SC     0    11   156    232  50.66
The complete results of the tournament are at http://geocities.com/Heartland/Ranch/7969/03results/Dogwood.txt 88 year old Frank Bohun won the 30' class again.

Walter Ray