Premier pitchers at Telfer

Snyder happy for Team World bid

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Ray Volkers of the Minnesota #1 team tosses a shoe during competition in Team World 216 at the Telfer Sports and Activity Center Friday.

BELOIT — That familiar clanging crescendo could be heard from the Telfer Sports and Activity Center, signaling the 28th edition of the Team World Horseshoes Tournament.

It’s sweet music to seven-time World Champion Sue Snyder.

“This is a fun tournament for me,” the Indiana native said. “I come all the way from Indiana to be here because I love to pitch here. I work hard to try to get those guys from Indiana to win.”

Snyder is so good at pitching shoes she’s virtually the Tiger Woods of her sport with a shoe named after her. Both men and women could be found on the portable courts at Telfer pitching variations of the “Snyder” shoe she helped originally design. 

“I had a fellow build me the original shoe after I told him everything I wanted,” Snyder said. “I loved it. I wanted that shoe for so long. They put it on the market and everyone wanted to buy it. I don’t know why.”

Why was probably because they wanted to pitch a little like Snyder, who has been one of the best in the business for years. She began competing internationally since 1987 and hasn’t lost her passion for the sport. 

After moving from Kentucky to Indiana in 2009 one of the first things she required was an outdoor horseshoe pit so she could throw her usual 500 daily practice pitches. She doesn’t throw as many today generally, but now has a building on the premises in which she can pitch year-round.

“I can pitch every day, whether it rains or snows,” she said. “When I go out to the building I pitch in the 70s or 80s.”

She’s referring to ringer percent - how many ringers she can throw out of 100. She entered Friday’s tournament play averaging 77.74 percent. Only one pitcher, Dan Dunn of Indiana II had a higher number at 78.47. An elder pitcher, he throws from the shorter 30-foot distance that women also throw from.

“This is really the beginning of the season for me and this is the first time here with this team,” Snyder said. “Last year we didn’t pitch here. I think we’re capable of winning (the title). I know we’re going to have fun trying.”

Pool play will continue on Saturday starting at 7:30 a.m. and continue all day with the final group pitching at 7:10 p.m. Action resumes Sunday at 8 a.m. with the finals set for 12:10 a.m.

While the tournament sticks with its “World” designation, it’s mostly a regional event. There are five teams from Wisconsin and five from Missouri entered. Minnesota has three teams, Illinois, Iowa and Indiana each have two and Michigan has one. 

The top team from Missouri won the event a year ago. That team of Rich Altis, Gregg Craven, Mick Gillette and Steven Johnson is back to defend its title.

The Beloit Horseshoe Club is hosting the event for the 28th season.

Sue Snyder of Indiana #1 is one of the nation's elite pitchers.

 

News Ken Tate of Illinois #1 draws a bead on his target Friday.

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