August 7, 2003 at 11:01 a.m.
“Age groups start before the teens on up. They have a thrower who is 85 years old,” remarked Alice Nelson, Bud’s wife, who will not be accompanying Bud on this trip. “Bud had a heart attack and the doctor told him to pick up horseshoes and cross country skiing. It’s great exercise for everyone, no matter what your age is.”
Nelson will be competing in the senior division made up of throwers between 65 and 70. Sixteen players per division are broken down by their ringer average, playing five games each day. Each game consists of 40 shoes. Nelson, who leaves for Eau Claire, Wisconsin, site of this year’s World Championships, will compete for three days starting August 11.
“Anyone can do this and you only play people in your age bracket,” said Nelson whose ringer average stands at 35 percent. “You have to pitch in a league and play in three tournaments a year, or, play in four tourneys without throwing in a league to qualify. That’s all it takes.”
That’s the kicker. No matter what your average is, if you meet the playing requirements and pay a $100 entry fee, you too can take part in the World Championships. That easy access was all it took to hook, or should I say, ring, Nelson in.
“I started throwing in 1987 and that’s when I went to my first World Championship,” remarked Nelson, who will be competing in the sixth World Championship of his career. “Really all it takes is practice, practice, practice. That’s also my problem. I live on the lake and right now my pit is under water.”
“It’s good clean, cheap fun,” commented Alice. “These days, everything seems so costly. It’s a hobby that is good for you and inexpensive at the same time. It’s been really fun to be apart of.”
Plans are in the making to help market those positives. After not having a pit to throw in this year, Nelson and the city of Forest Lake are looking to change that.
“Forest Lake is starting the process to build a new community recreation center and they have promised us that they will set aside some land for some new pits,” said Nelson. “That’s what we’ve been working on for the last year. We have gotten great interest from people who want to get involved. We sent out 6,000 questionaires to people and have gotten good response.”
For more information on future horseshoe leagues or tournaments, contact the Nelsons at 257-8090.