Penny Steinke

Penny Steinke, left, won her third straight Wisconsin horseshoe pitching state title Sunday in Beloit. Runnerup Aleena Lepak is at right.

BELOIT—Wisconsin’s own horseshoe ace, Penny Steinke, pulled off the trifecta Sunday.

The Waukesha resident won her third consecutive title Sunday in the Women’s Division at the Wisconsin Horseshoe Pitchers Association 2020 State Singles Championships.

The 98th annual tournament was held over the Labor Day weekend at the Beloit Horseshoe Club. Over 100 of Wisonsin’s best horseshoe pitchers competed across seven divisions at the event. Located on Ravine Drive, the club features 13 outdoor clay courts and eight indoor courts.

“It’s my favorite place to play,” Steinke said of the Beloit facility after winning the championship. Steinke was undefeated against all five opponents she faced. Pitching with Snyder Flip Grip horseshoes, she scored a total of 146 ringers, which put her point total at 209 for the event. Aleena Lepak, who won the state tournament each year from 2012 through 2017, placed second in the division with 195 points. Beloit resident Tammy Newkirk took third.

A schoolteacher who also authors a series of children’s books, Penny Steinke’s style of throwing horseshoes is known as “turn pitching,” in which the shoe rotates rather than flips. She typically practices pitching horseshoes once or twice per week.

“I also use meditation and visualization to prepare,” she added.

Steinke’s next horseshoe competition is this weekend at the Close Doesn’t Count Horseshoe Club in Centuria.

In the Men’s Division at the state tournament, Jeff Pagel posted a 7-1 mark for a total of 310 points to claim the championship. Zak Schwartz was the second place finisher and 2016 state champ Ken Heinritz finished third.

“This is the Super Bowl of horseshoe pitching for me,” said Pagel, who won his first state title. “I put a lot of my heart and my mind into this.”

His style of throwing horseshoes is the less-common “flip pitching,” where the shoe moves end over end as it moves through the air. Pagel said he’s the first flip pitcher to win the tournament since Forrest Mitchell in 1923.

• Other first place finishers at the state tournament included: Elders Division: Jim Bilderback; Junior Boys: Steve Lazaris; Junior Girls: Sarah Chaffee; Cadet Boys: Blake Benzing; Cadet Girls: Sequoia Wiese.