By Jai Rakic – ISN

Victoria, BC – (ISN) The Victoria Open tournament for horseshoe pitching was held recently at the Greater Victoria Horseshoe Pitching Association’s (GVHPA) Glanford Park clubhouse.

The tournament acted as a great warm-up for local players before the GVHPA hosts the BC championships in September. Tom Moffat claimed top position in the Men’s A division winning five out of his six matches while both Maryse Atkinson and Jerry Melissa went undefeated to top the Women’s A and Elders A divisions, respectively.

The GVHPA boasts 100 plus members and is one of only three horseshoe pitching associations on Vancouver Island. It has been Victoria’s home for horseshoe pitching since it’s humble beginnings at Beacon Hill Park in 1935.

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The Victoria Open medals went to (left to right) Gord Butts (2nd), Tom Moffat (1st) Jack Dabney in the back (4th) and Tony Rondow (3rd)(Photo Courtesy of Tom Moffat).

The eccentric sport has a deep history going all the way back to Ancient Rome, when Roman soldiers created the game as a way to kill time between killing enemy combatants. The sport has since evolved and now follows a strict set of rules and guidelines.

The game is played by setting up two stakes at opposing sides of the playing field, which can reach up to 40 feet in length in top division games. The stakes are the target at which the horseshoes are pitched. Players then alternate turns attempting to land a ‘ringer’ – the term used when players land their shoe around the opposing players stake – which is awarded three points. Players are also awarded one point if any part of the shoe is touching the stake but not encircling it.

There are two styles of play, one being league play where teams of four compete with a set number of pitches, usually 50. All points are tallied and the team with the highest score at the end of the allotted 50 pitches wins the game.

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GVHPA president Cheryl Cliche gets set for a pitch during the recent Victoria Open (Photo courtesy of Tom Moffat)

The other is tournament play where individuals are pitted against one another and a cancellation rule comes into effect, meaning points can be annulled if both players land a ringer on the same play. Points are only awarded when a ringer is made and the opponent fails to score. Tournament games are played until a competitor reaches a pre-determined score, which is typically around 40 points.

Anyone interested in taking up horseshoe pitching either competitively or just as a hobby is encouraged to visit the GVHPA clubhouse in Glanford Park where experienced members are more than willing to teach newcomers the ins and outs of the sport.


The GVHPA has men’s leagues on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Womens and Juniors on Wednesday nights and Seniors on Wednesday mornings.  There is a mixed drop in on Friday nights.
GVHPA will also be hosting the the B.C. Championships on Labour Day weekend Sept 1-2.  Ladysmith will be holding the Island Championships on Sept 15th and 16th.  Other upcoming tournaments include: Saanich Open (Victoria) Aug 19; Ladysmith Bernice Busch/Murray Rayner Memorial Open July 01 and 02; and the Ladysmith Stew Battie Memorial Open Aug 04,05,06.


For more information on the Greater Victoria Horseshoe Pitching Association, please visit their website at or the website of the Victoria Horseshoe Club at