Pawnee Ringers pitch some shoes

July 8, 2018

It’s time to get pitching -- horseshoes that is.

The Pawnee Ringers are a local horseshoe club that meets on Thursday at Pawnee Park during the summer. They have been around since at least 1976 according to some of the members.

In the league this summer, there are six teams made up of three people each. Each team pitches 150 shoes a night in three games.

Seth Limbach is the president of the Pawnee Ringers and has been for four years.

Limbach gave multiple reasons why he enjoys playing horseshoes.

“One, I think it’s the competitiveness,” Limbach said. “We’re all pretty competitive here in our league and the other thing would be the people. It’s a real family atmosphere that we have here and I enjoy playing with these guys and making fun of them all at the same time and having a good time with it.”

Limbach has been pitching for quite a while now, as he got into it when he was young.

“My dad got my into it at the age of 14, so it will be 14 years that I’ve been playing now,” Limbach said.

For anyone interesting in joining, all you have to do is contact Limbach or anyone else from the league. To find contact information for Limbach, people can visit https://www.easterncharternebr.com/clubs-and-courts

Merle Alswager also pitches with the Pawnee Ringers. He is the president of the Eastern Nebraska Horseshoe Pitchers Association, a position he’s held for four years and also served as president from 1987-1993.

Like Limbach, Alswager was introduced to horseshoes at a young age.

“I guess I kind of watched some old folks doing it when I was a kid,” Alswager said. “Then, after I was married, my wife’s uncle was a state champion in Wyoming. So one year we went out and watched him play. I’ve been playing every year in every state tournament since. I think this will be 34 in a row.”

When asked why he enjoys horseshoes, Alswager had two words.

“The competition,” he said.

Alswager had a word for anyone sitting on the fence trying to decide if they should give horseshoes a chance.

“Come out and meet the people and sit around,” Alswager said. “There’s cameraderie and that kind of thing. You might not be hooked the first time, but after the first year, you’ll be hooked. You have to give it a little bit of time. It’s just sitting around talking, hearing old stories and pretty soon you’ve got a story of your own that you’re repeating to everybody.”

Limbach and Alswager both mentioned that horseshoes is a sport that anyone can play. They have people who are as young as 16 that throw with them, all the way to their oldest member, who is 91.

“It’s a sport of all ages,” Alswager said. “There’s a little work to it and you’ve got to be willing to practice or you’ll never climb out of the basement, but if you’re willing to practice and have a little bit of coordination and talent, pretty soon you can go anywhere you want to.”

Peter Huguenin is a sports reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at peter.huguenin@lee.net

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