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Horseshoe pitching not in Olympics, but why?

Published: Aug. 3, 2021 at 9:51 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Since the modern Olympics began in 1896, the Games have featured lots of obscure sports: race walking, underwater swimming and tug of war to name a few. However, one American pastime has never been on the docket: horseshoe pitching.

Stuart Sipma is a longstanding proponent of horseshoe pitching. When he became the President of the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association in 2010, his primary goal was to get the sport to the Olympics.

”It’s been out there for a long time, it’s just trying to get other countries involved and to compete at a high level like we do here in the USA,” said Sipma.

That’s the big reason why horseshoe pitching has never been in the Olympics: to qualify, a sport needs demonstrated interest from 17 countries. Right now, there are only about five. Sipma says they’re working on drumming up excitement in other countries, but they’ve hit some snags.

”Trying to create a new sport in a country is really hard to do. And this COVID-19 and the setback is really putting a lot of strain on that right now,” said Sipma.

Olympic glory aside, horseshoers in Bismarck say they plan to enjoy the sport for as long as they can.

”My dad can’t play softball with me, he can’t play volleyball or anything like that. He’s coached us along the way. My brother, who has passed, he used to play with my dad. He always had a good time, and now I get the opportunity, and I think that’s a great time to bond,” said Jean Vedquam, a horseshoe pitching enthusiast.

The National Horseshoe Pitchers Association still has their sights set on an Olympic berth and have developed an outreach program to teach the game to players in other countries.

Horseshoes have been pitched in competitions since the 1909 World Horseshoe Championships. The most recent variation of the world championships was held in Nevada this year and wrapped up this past weekend.

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