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Bradshaw wins Saddle West Open horseshoes tournament in playoff

Kim Bradshaw enjoys pitching horseshoes, and she’s good at it. But by noon Saturday she was ready to put up her feet and relax.

“It was humid, and I was suffering,” Bradshaw said. “I really felt it, like it was pressing down on you.”

But the Class A competition ended in a tie at the Saddle West Open horseshoes tournament at Petrack Park, and after some thought about the conditions, it was decided to have a playoff between Bradshaw and Bo Anders, who each had won three out of four games.

“We thought about it because of the weather,” tournament organizer Mike Norton said. “Almost any time we have an A group with the same amount of wins and losses we always go to a playoff. They both agreed to a playoff, so we had a playoff. Otherwise, Kim would have won because of ringer percentage.”

After some discussion, the playoff was set at 10 horseshoes. Competitors pitched two shoes apiece before changing ends, and Bradshaw was sharp from the beginning. She nailed a ringer on each of the first three turns, then hit two on the fourth. Anders, whose only loss during the tournament was to Bradshaw, never got untracked. The result was a 16-1 win for Bradshaw, her first tournament victory since returning to competition this year after knee surgery.

“I’m really, really tired, but I feel good because I won and I played pretty good,” she said.

Bradshaw’s three wins came fairly easily, by scores of 40-21, 37-20 and 36-14. In her worst game, her opponent, Don Brown, totaled the most points of any of her foes, and the result was a 28-25 win for Brown, who went 2-2.

“I just couldn’t hit, and Don was on,” said Bradshaw, who said it can be tricky to get out of a cold streak. “If you’re lucky, you can break it on one pitch. Otherwise, when you’re down, that makes you try harder and you’re not relaxed. So you have to tell yourself to try and relax and get your groove back.

“It seems like you’ll pitch for a while and you’re consistent, but it always seems like in one game you lose that concentration, and getting it back is hard. In that last game, I had to get it back.”

Bradshaw tossed a tournament-best 56 ringers, with Brown next with 53.

While Bradshaw and Anders were heading toward a playoff in Class A, Class B and Class C each had pitchers withdraw from the tournament.

“It was hot and muggy, and the players tolerated it except for the ones that couldn’t handle the heat,” Norton said. “These tournaments can take it out of you. It doesn’t look like it, but it’s actually a lot of work.”

Placers were recruited so each pitcher would have the same number of games, but the games went into the books as victories for the regular participants, who were basically pitching for stats.

Surviving best in the heat were Gary Shifflett and Mike Nicosia, who went undefeated to win in Class B and Class C, respectively. Pitchers were placed in classes based on their ringer percentage going into the event.

Shifflett tossed 45 ringers and totaled 122 points in sweeping three Class B games and was the only one of the four in his division to exceed his overall ringer percentage. Shifflett’s first game proved to be decisive, as he scored a 38-17 win over Mark Kaczmarek, who would finish second.

The battle for second proved tighter, as Kaczmarek defeated eventual third-place finisher Ken Jose 30-28.

In Class C, Nicosia hit 17 ringers and scored 93 points in sweeping to the victory.

“We had a good turnout,” Norton said. “On the whole, it was a pretty good day and a good group.”

There is a break in the Nevada schedule, as the world championships will be held this month in South Carolina. The slate picks up again Aug. 11, with the Shade Tree Open at Petrack Park.

The Pahrump Dust Devils are always eager to get more people interested in pitching horseshoes competitively. Anyone is welcome to come to the Petrack Park horseshoe pits from 10 a.m.-noon Wednesdays and Saturdays. For information, contact Norton at 775-537-0542 or visit nevada-horseshoe.com

Contact Sports Editor Tom Rysinski at trysinski@pvtimes.com On Twitter:@pvtimes

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