August 13, 2014 - By Meg Peters
Review Staff Writer
Swinging and pitching were synchronous last weekend at the Lake Orion horseshoe pits.
Pitchers from all across Michigan competed in the Michigan State Doubles Tournament Saturday and Sunday hosted by the Lake Orion Horseshoe Club (LOHC) for the second year in a row in downtown Lake Orion.
Five classes of pitcher groups scored ringers and single points throughout the tournament with 62 total pitchers, or 31 teams.
Eight Lake Orion team members proudly represented their club during the competition. Doug Bailey, Club President Ronald Price, George Parsons, Todd Vincent, Zach Spanke, Casiano Mangilin, Cathy Ardelean and Dawn Price all pitched their best shoes. However Randall Kamm and "Dewey" Howard stole the championship with 122 ringers out of 250 throws.
Not only did players pitch some mean games, Lake Orion teammates honored a long time member Michael Ardelean with a moment of silence prior to the competition's start.
"Ardelean passed away July 25 and will be greatly missed as he was a great ambassador for the club and what horseshoes represent," Price said.
Moments after the silence Larry Hinton sang God Bless America in honor of Ardelean, and the playing commenced.
Joyous moments were shared throughout the day's competitive spirit, a lengthy arrangement of foods prepared by contestants and of course the beautiful weather at Lake Orion's horseshoe pits next to the Orion Art Center and Fire Station 1.
The LOHC also hosted a singles tournament Sunday at 10 a.m. where many of the same players from the day before threw their shoes.
Two pitchers new to the tournament circle were John and Brian Hart from Lake Orion, along with Todd Vincent's new wife Kerri who played and won her class.
The LOHC is sanctioned by the National Horseshoe Pitcher's Association (NHPA) and strictly adheres to those guidelines, specifications and playing rules. All entrants must be NHPA members, play before a specific judge after selecting a partner, arrange an official scorekeeper, must throw underhand, and play in their appropriate divisions, among other rules.
A ringer encircles, or "rings" around the stake, earning the pitcher three points. One point is earned for any shoe coming within six inches of the stake.
Not only do Lake Orion club members play a fun and fair game, they help their community too.
"This year we really want to stand out in the community, not only in the area of horseshoes but volunteering for organizations and families that need help," Price said.
The LOHC is currently assisting with a Boy Scout project, is in the process of building a horseshoe pit at Green's Park, and is partnering with the Lake Orion Farmer's Market and Downtown Development Authority for area projects.
Potential pitchers interested in learning more about the game of horseshoes or who want to join the LOHC to play competitively can visit the LOHC website at www.pitchwithuslakeorion.com.