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Canadian Horseshoe Pitching Championships coming to Victoria

Copyright - 2016 - Victoria Sports News Pitching2

Just when the 2016 Rio Olympic Games begin the final days of competition, the Canadian Horseshoe Pitching Championships will be taking place in Victoria at the Greater Victoria Horseshoe Pitching Association club located at 620 Kenneth Street, just behind Glanford Park soccer pitch.

From the 16th to the 20th of August, pitchers from across Canada will vie for a piece of the $10,000 prize purse.

The competition will be exciting as several multi-time national champions will be competing in the tournament. Local Men’s A-division competitors Kevin Cuthbert and Tom Moffat will be pitching amongst just six others who have qualified from across the country.

There will be 54 players from Greater Victoria in the tournament playing within various age-divisions.

Colin Finnie of Kenaston, Saskatchewan will be competing and looking for his tenth national title, while sixteen-time national champion Sylvianne Moisan of L'Epiphanie, Quebec will be looking to continue her winning ways.

Asked about his goal for nationals, Cuthbert said, “I am looking for a top-three finish.”

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Kevin Cuthbert

The competition will be strong, not just because national champions will be competing, but club-mates will be competitive with each other. GVHPA members will want to beat each other just as much as any other player.

“He is going down,” Moffat joked with 27-year-old Cuthbert.

“He’s just jealous because I took him out in the recent tournament,” replied Cuthbert.

Cuthbert has been playing the game since he was 13-years-old. “My dad showed me the game, I liked it right away.”

Cuthbert says that the game is his passion and he practises at least one hour per day, seven days of the week. “My Dad passed away when I was 15, just a couple of years after he got me into the game, so it’s my thing.”

Cuthbert played in the World Championships as a junior and finished 13th overall in 2009.

Asked if he would cheer for Moffat if he goes out early, Cuthbert laughed, “I don’t know it depends on who he is playing.”

Although the competition is strong, the atmosphere at the GVHPA is very friendly. Pitchers play from as young as four, right up into their 90s.

“Although we do have all ages, we are looking to grow the 20 to 50 ages a little,” shared Moffat. “It’s a fun game, once you start playing. We have had people show up to try it out and are surprised at how much fun they end up having.”

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A three-point ringer

Moffat, is the Vice-President of the national governing body, while he is the President of the provincial association and heads the 81-year-old club. Currently he is one of the top ringers with a percentage of 54.1.

The GVHPA clubhouse is bigger than one might think. The game of horseshoes isn’t just for backyards and camping any more. They have a full-on kitchen, administration office, showers and a dining area with room for dancing, during social events.

They have a brand new paved parking lot that appears large enough to take 100 cars and an RV park for competitions. Pointing to a field on the other side of a neat row of cedars Moffat said, “oh yeah that area will be packed with RV’s for nationals.”

The Horseshoe Canada Association qualification standards take the top eight pitchers in terms of their ring percentage in each age-category. Although close really does count in in the game of horseshoes, the top ringers are not looking for "close"; they will have a ring percentage of 60-80%.

The 81-year-old club (1935) will play host to the four-day tournament for the sixth time.  The first year they hosted was in 1982. They hosted three times during the 1990s including 1992, 1994 and 1998 as well as 2004 and 2010.

More information is available regarding their host night that features popular local rock band Rukus, as well as all the information on the tournament online at http://gvhpa.org/

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