It was close. And fortunately, close does count in horseshoes. They didn’t clean up entirely at last weekend’s horseshoe tournament in Calgary, but four Prince George seniors came home with prize money, good standings and fond memories. Ida Boschman and husband Herb along with Elaine Stern and husband Maurice have made a ritual in their golden years of playing in tournaments all across Canada and the States.
“We usually go to about 12 or 14 tournaments a year,” said Boschman. “We have been friends for a long time and we usually go to tournaments together here and in the States. We joined the horseshoe club in Prince George after we played a few tournaments in the States.”
The couples started playing horsehoes together about ten years ago after Ida Boschman invited her friend Elaine Stern out to play. Stern has been playing ever since.
“The first time that Herb saw Elaine toss a shoe he said to me ‘she’ll never make a horsehoe player’. Now she whips him.”
Both women enjoy the game as challenging and fun. “You have to throw a good distance. And you have to have good eye and hand co-ordination because the whole object is to get as many ringers as you can over the peg,” said Boshman who is presently scoring around 80 per cent. She took a first in her B Class last weekend. Players are ranked by percentages. Stern took third in her C class. Maurice won the Elmer Schmidt Memorial for most improved player over the two-day tournament. And Herb came first in his class on the second day of play. All of them came home happy.
Playing horseshoes is good exercise, Boschman said. “There’s lots of walking and bending over.” It’s also good for socializing.
“We have friends as far south as Indiana and Arkansas. When we play tournaments, it’s just like a homecoming because we all know each other. And we go to the same events every year.”
Next year, the club is getting new horseshoe pits. The City of Prince George takes over their present location at Recreation Place in exchange for a new location across from the YWCA “It promises to be bigger and better,” said Stern. The horseshoe pitching season draws to a close this month, she said. Next summer the club can look forward to hosting the Western Classic in July 2005 with six provinces taking part.