Hundreds pitch horseshoes for a good cause

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JEFFERSON CITY - Monday marks the end of the weekend-long Missouri Horseshoe Pitching Championship. An upwards of 200 people showed up to compete. 

The championship, hosted at Washington Park, started on Friday, September 1st and lasted until Monday afternoon.

MOHPA was establised in 1921 and is the largest charter in the nationals association, with more than 620 members. 

This is the fifth year the Capital City Horseshoe Club hosted the event in Jefferson City. Players range from all ages, and people from all over Missouri showed up to participate.

The divisions include Cadets, Juniors, Women's, Men's and Elder's. The 12 best players compete in each category, and best out of seven games win. 

"It's like a big family. The comradery and the friendships you make is why people stick with it. Many of these pitchers have known me since I was a little kid. They have seen me grow up into a man. Now I have kids and grandchildren," said Stan Griggs, an 11-time Men's champion. 

Many players said they have competed since they were little kids, and for many it is a family tradition.

"In 1975 my father got horseshoes for Father's Day and we started pitching. One thing led to another. We found out there were tournaments so we started pitching," Griggs said.

The champion of the Cadet division, Warren Highley, said he has been throwing horseshoes since he could walk, and now his little sister is learning to play as well. He said pitching Horseshoes has allowed him to travel all over the country and world. 

The women's champion, Lachelle Cook, said she has been playing for 21 years. 

Proceeds from the championship is dedicated for the Special Olympics Training for Life campus. 

"The campus will have a horseshoe venue. We want to raise enough money to build this at the campus. If there is anything left over it will go to health and wellness. Then the state association as well as the local club has dedicated themselves to teaching," Mel Breummer, tournament director for State Championships, said. 

Breummer said anyone can get involved in horseshoe pitching, and they welcome people at all skill levels to compete. 

Next year the state championship will be in Wentzville. It costs $35 per person to register.