Contact: Laurie Lampkin, 2nd VP
Established as a city in 1859, Lansing Michigan has become an industrial center for the manufacturing of automobiles and parts, among other industries. As such, it serves as a great location for the 2023 World Horseshoe Pitching Championships. The tournament will be hosted at The Lansing Center (333 E. Michigan Ave) July 17-29, 2023, with free admission for all. The competition begins each day at 8 a.m. and ends at approximately 10 p.m. daily. A total of 954 athletes will be competing in the event with entries from the United States, South Africa, Norway, and Canada. Prizes totaling upwards of $134,000 will be awarded including 9 new World Champions in the Women, Men, Senior Women, Senior Men, Elder Men, Junior Boys, Junior Girls, Cadet Girls, and Cadet Boys divisions. All applicable health protocols will be followed.
Returning to defend his 26th World Championship title is the “NHPA Goat” Alan Francis from Defiance, Ohio. Alan has competed in 41 World Tournaments since 1981, is a 1996 NHPA Hall of Fame member, and has a phenomenal win/loss record of 601.5 wins and 59.5 losses. He is ranked 1st in the Men’s division at 86.98% ringers, looking to add to his World Record collection. There will be strong competition again this year with Ben Webb (KY) ranked at number two with 76.07% and Drew Becker (ON) at 75.59%. Ben is the current NHPA Junior Director and finished 7th last year but has increased his average by 8% since last year’s competition. Drew is a 2 time World Champion as a Junior, has competed in 15 World Tournaments and finished in second in 2022 and is a strong competitor from Canada. Drew just completed the Team World competition where he was able to win a game against Alan, an accomplishment that not many can share. With 9 of last year’s top 10 finishers returning to compete for the title, it will be a great year. Dan Watson (AL), Matt Fuller (WA), Austin Bailey (IL), Jimmy Campbell (VA), and Cole Pearson (NE). Walter Ray Williams (FL) returns to the Men’s division this year after a 4th place finish in the Senior Men’s in 2022. There are some newcomers to this year’s Top 10 with Randy Zeiders (PA), Tyler Howard (KY), and Andrew Adams (MI). Gale Greene (VT), who finished 4th in 2022, is the oldest in this year’s competition at a young 82 years old. He has chosen to keep pitching from 40 feet, even though he is eligible to compete at 30 feet due to his age. Gale has competed in 17 World Tournaments and has been in the top class (A) 10 times.
The current undefeated Women’s World Champion is Sarah Chaffee of Chippewa Falls, (WI). Sarah captured the title in 2022 pitching 86.48% ringers. She has won 3 world titles with 2 as a junior pitcher and last year was her first step into the Women’s division, setting a record as the youngest (16) to ever win the Women’s World championship. She will have a strong field to compete against with 8 of last years top 10 women returning for another shot at the title. Ranked second in this group is Marlene Ray (TN), who enters with 80.78%. She has pitched in 22 World Tournaments and was last year’s second place finisher and has her eyes on the top spot. Another junior that entered the division last year is Skyla Rioux (CT), who finished last year in fifth place. She is ranked third with 78.8%. Returning to this World Tournament is Joan Elmore (TN). Joan has competed in 25 World Tournaments and is a 10 time Women’s Division World Champion looking to add win number 11. Her highest World Tournament finish was pitching 86.91%. Other pitchers in last year’s top 10 returning for the competition are Sylvianne Moisan (PQ), Penny Steinke (WI), Aleena Lepak (WI) and Lyne Pineault (PQ). Will Sarah pitch another perfect game as she did in 2021? Will Joan capture her 11th World Championship? Will another of the top 10 pitchers upset the top ranked pitchers and win this year? (Pam Meyer (MO), Amy Francis (OH), Denise Daly (MI)) It will be a great year to watch the Women’s division compete for the title!
Bob Gray (FL) is the defending Elders Mens Champion and enters the division ranked number two behind last year’s second place finisher David Holmes (WV). Only 2% separates the two of them…competition will be fierce again this year. David has won four World Championships and Bob Gray has won one…which one will add to their awards, or will it be someone else from the division? Others competing from last year’s top class are Ronald Legrand (MO), Zane Goggin (GA), and Bert Logsdon (IA). We were saddened to lose the 6th place finisher Russ Phillips (WA) and mourn his loss, as well as the many other of our friends and pitchers that we have heard about throughout the year.
Sheila Shepard (CO) returns again as the defending champion for Senior Women. She has won the Senior Women’s championship nine times in the 18 World Tournaments she has entered. Sheila is a 2020 NHPA Hall of Fame member. She is currently ranked third in the group with very strong competition. Maxine Griffith (TN) enters the Senior Women for the first time in the number one spot at 79.32% with Pat Stumpf (MN) as number two. Maxine (TN) has competed in 17 World Tournaments and is the 2018 Women’s World Champion. San Juanita Murray (TX) finished 2nd in 2022 and also hopes to take over the top spot. Others in the top ten are Barb Adams (CO), Donna Shoemaker (OH), Laurie Lampkin (KY), Janet Larson (MN), Susie Erickson (WI), and Mary Fimbres (AZ).
The Senior Men’s competition looks to be very competitive with the top 7 pitchers separated by a total of 10%. There are eight of last year’s top 10 that returned to compete. PBA Pro Bowler, (Walter Ray Williams (FL) who finished 4th will be competing in the Men’s division this year. Stan Griggs (MO) leads the field at 67.34% with Raymond Bedard (MA), James Dunlap (MI), Ken Fraser (NY), Jacob Fimbres (AZ), Gary Roberts (OH) – 2023 NHPA President, Mark Seibold (FL), Rick Howe (MA), Ken Jones (NM), and David Mallory (OK) rounding out the top ten. Rick Howe (MA) is the defending World Champion from 2022, and he pitched 69.5%, so he is also a strong competitor for a repeat title. Griggs (MO) has pitched in 14 World Tournaments with his highest finish at 73.47%. There are also two returning World Champions with Dunlap (MI) with one Championship and Bedard (MA) with two Championships.
Some of the most fun competition to watch is the awesome pitching of the Cadet and Junior Girls and Boys. Pitching from 20 or 30 feet, depending on their age, these pitchers will definitely show you what it is like to pitch and have fun. They won’t give you a chance if you’re pitching against them because they are there to win as well, but they’ll do it with a smile on their face. The top 4 cadets this year is returning Cadet World Champion, Eli Sullivan (VA), Tom Grose (NV), Landon Morgan (IL) and Adakai Begaye (CA). Eli comes in with a 72.14% average and is the returning champion from 2022 and will be looking to defend his title. Three of the top 5 pitchers from 2022 have returned to the Junior division with Derek Reynolds (AR) entering with 78.71% ranked number one. Hastiin Begaye (CA) finished 3rd last year and is ranked second at 72.95% and Caiden Hogue (OH), who finished 5th, comes in at number 4 with 52.37%. The top Junior girl is Lizy Jordan (CT) who comes in at 58.29% and is in a strong position to win the Junior Girls World Title Division.
The media day is set for July 14th at 2:00 p.m. at The Lansing Center and the “Warm Up” tournament on July 15th at 8:00 a.m., all events are free to the public to come and watch. The Hall of Fame Banquet will be Sunday, July 23rd at the Lansing Center with Social hour at 5:00 pm and dinner at 6:00 pm. Tickets will be on sale at the NHPF booth in the Lansing Center. Welcome to the 2023 NHPA World Horseshoe Tournament.