Houston & Peach

Top horseshoe players converge on Perry

PERRY -- The sounds of metal striking metal steadily rang across Rozar Park on Saturday morning as some of the best horseshoe pitchers in the state competed.

The annual Hotter Than Hades tournament is a warm-up for the state tournament set for Oct. 3 at the same location.

Most of the 39 contestants Saturday were middle aged and older, but one exception was Bo Mullis, 17, of Lizella. He plays baseball at Crawford County High School, but found his true calling four years ago when he started tossing horseshoes with his father and grandfather.

Now he holds a world champion trophy in his division, which is based on age and ability. He won it in July in a tournament in Topeka, Kansas. He has been unsuccessful in his attempt to get his friends from school interested in the sport.

“Some kids just think it’s an old people’s game, it’s no fun, but they won’t know until they try it,” he said. “I love everything about it. It’s a relaxing game.”

Larry Myers, 73, of Macon, is the reigning overall state champion. He said it’s the close camaraderie among the competitors that keeps him interested.

“If you take that out of it, you might as well quit,” he said. “We’ve got a good organization and most of them are just like family.”

Myers said the game is not as easy as a lot people might think.

“You have to really focus,” he said. “You can’t let anything distract you.”

Rozar Park has 12 horseshoe courts in a fenced area. Buddy Ayer, who is vice president of the Georgia Horseshoe Pitchers Association, said it’s the only sanctioned court in the area.

The Perry Horseshoe Pitchers, which organized Saturday’s tournament, plays at Rozar Park every Monday at 5:30 p.m. Members said anyone who is interested is welcome to come.

To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.