NEWBERRY — The Horseshoe Tour is back in Newberry this weekend with the 10th annual SummerFun Tournament, held in Marion Davis Park, 2905 Fair Avenue in Newberry.
The two-day weekend tournament was held for the first time in 1996 in York as part of a local festival, according to Ron Taylor, director of operations of The Horseshoe Tour.
After two years, it was moved to Clover through the year 2000, when Taylor said the tournament grew.
“Each year the number of entries increased, and with just one motel available locally [in Clover], the event could not accommodate the players,” Taylor said.
It was at this time that Taylor said they reached out to City of Newberry’s Parks, Recreation and Tourism Director Scott Sawyer about hosting the tournament in Newberry.
“The rest is history and we have been in Newberry since,” Taylor said.
The tournament features some of the best horseshoe players in the world, competing in 40’ and 30’ Classes. Because of the sanctioning of the tournament through the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association, only NHPA members may enter the tournament, Taylor said, but visitors are welcome to attend to watch the tournament, which will start at 10 a.m. Saturday morning and last through the first round of the 40’ Prime Division beginning at 4 p.m. Events will start again Sunday morning at 9 a.m.
More tournament details can be found online at www.thehorseshoetour.com.
Taylor said some of the top ranked players in the world will be heading to Newberry for the tournament including current World Champions in two divisions, Joan Elmore (Tenn.), current Women’s World Champion and Roger Vogel (Kan.), current Elder World Champion.
What makes a tour event great, Taylor said is the diversity of almost all players traveling from out of state. Many states will be represented at this weekend’s event with some travelling from Arizona, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Louisiana, Alabama, Connecticut, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Kansas and South Carolina.
Taylor said these states will have multiple state champions in all divisions represented.
For over 17 years, Taylor said Newberry has had an ongoing relationship with their tournament and is the only site who has hosted a single event for the last 10 years.
“We have a great working relationship with Newberry,” Taylor said. “Scott Sawyer has been a catalyst for acquiring this event each year and because of Newberry’s commitment over the years, our president, Bobby White and the tour staff and players, has committed to Newberry.”
Taylor said players have commented that Newberry was the best kept secret in horseshoes because of its historic past, accommodations, great restaurants, friendly people and a nice horseshoe pitching facility at Marion Davis Park.
“The SummerFun has put the City of Newberry on the map in the horseshoe world,” Sawyer said. “We’ve had some of the top players, including World Champions who consistently compete in the event. Over the years, participants have come from over 15 states and as far away as Utah.”
This year’s tournament falls during the city’s annual Pork in the Park event, which Taylor says fits perfectly as players and their families are always looking for entertainment during their tour stops.
Taylor said this was the second time that the events had been held in conjunction with one another and they would be working to schedule playing times so that players could come downtown to enjoy the activities.