72°F
weather icon Clear

Holbrook, 79, rolls to horseshoes tournament championship

Although eight of the 13 competitors Saturday at the Ho-Z Classic were from Pahrump, it was an elder statesman from Carson City who stole the show at the Joe Friel Sports Complex in Tonopah.

Harold Holbrook, who has won the elder division at the state championships for several years, defeated Louie Escalante 35-27 in the final game of the day to win the A Division and claim the tournament championship.

Holbrook and Escalante were each 4-0 heading into that last game, although Holbrook had a tough time with tournament host Ken Jose. Jose had a 38-19 lead midway through his game against Holbrook but went cold the rest of the way, allowing Holbrook to squeeze out a 45-42 win in Round 4.

“It’s a tough group,” Jose said. “You’ve got to a throw a ringer against these guys almost every time.”

Holbrook has hit ringers on at least 50 percent of his shoes in nine out of 10 tournaments since June 2018. “I’ve never seen him lose,” said Mike Norton of Pahrump, the secretary-treasurer of the state horseshoes association.

“I started pitching horseshoes when I was 45, and I’m 79 right now,” said Holbrook, who said he tries to get to at least five or six events each year.

The highlight of the Holbrook-Escalante battle came near the end, when each competitor threw two ringers on three consecutive turns, known as “four-dead” because, with all four shoes ringers, no points are awarded. Points are earned when one player pitches better than the other on a given turn.

“Once in a while it happens,” Holbrook said. “If you’re just relaxed throwing the shoe. It’s mechanics. You don’t have to win. Do the mechanics. Once you start to do that right, then you win.”

When a pitcher calls out four dead as the result of a turn, Pahrump pitchers will repeat the phrase, marking the significance of something that doesn’t happen too often.

“No, not here,” Norton said. “In world tournaments you see a lot of it. In our little backyard tournaments, it’s pretty rare.”

But Holbrook, who said he doesn’t keep track of how many state titles he has won, is perfectly happy pitching in “little backyard tournaments.”

“I think it’s the camaraderie among the pitchers,” he said. “You always run into one or two you don’t want to see no more, but 99 percent of the time you like to see these people again and again and again.”

In the B Division, Pahrump’s Mike Nicosia was declared the champion using the most-points tiebreaker. Nicosia, Randy Salzwimmer and Dave Barefield each went 4-2 in the round robin competition, but Nicosia compiled 196 points to 194 for Salzwimmer to take the tiebreaker. Barefield, who had the most ringers in the B Division with 62, was third with 181 points.

Dan Dunn, the only pitcher in A Division to exceed his entry ringer percentage, finished third after going 3-2, losing only to Holbrook and Escalante.

The next event on the Nevada pitching schedule is the Hot Vegas Daze Open at 9 a.m. Saturday. The pitchers return to Pahrump on July 6 for the Saddle West Open.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Tom Rysinski: Football’s zebra herd needs some thinning

Criticizing officials who work high school games is not something I enjoy doing. They’re not making a fortune, they put up with a lot, and you really have to love doing it to devote so much time and energy to it. And in most sports there is a shortage of them. So criticizing them is usually inappropriate.

NHP provides update on Nye bus crash investigation

The Nevada Highway Patrol released new findings on the Sept. 5 crash involving a school bus carrying the Pahrump Valley High School junior varsity football team, a nighttime Highway 160 construction zone wreck that injured at least four on the bus.

Pahrump Valley Sports Roundup: Volleyball team sweeps Del Sol

Junior Nicky Velazquez finished with 11 kills and 7 digs Wednesday to lead the Pahrump Valley High School girls volleyball team to a dominating three-set win over Del Sol in Las Vegas.

Dan Simmons’ Sportsman’s quest: Exploring the Legends of the Lake

Nevada always has been the land of legends, mysteries and adventures. When it comes to fishing, it’s no different, as I discovered at Pyramid Lake, a short distance north of Reno.

Trojans Football Notebook: McGhee needs surgery

The 20-18 loss to Boulder City on Friday night was not the worst news for the Pahrump Valley High School football team in the past week.

Pahrump Sports Roundup: Seven Sharks win cross country medals

Seventh-grader Ryleigh Denton finished the 1.7-mile course at the Clark County Fairgrounds in 12 minutes, 32 seconds to place fifth and lead the Rosemary Clarke Middle School girls cross country team to a second-place finish Saturday in the Moapa Valley Invitational.

Nye County kids can win spot in Las Vegas Lights FC soccer clinic

Children ages 8 through 12 are eligible to enter a contest for a chance to participate in the Amazingly Fabulous Completely Unbelievable youth soccer clinic run presented by America First Credit Union and run by Las Vegas Lights FC coaches and players.

Football: Beatty makes it look easy in opener

With his football team’s opener canceled because of Round Mountain’s roster issues, Beatty High School senior Fabian Perez took advantage of the night off, opting to scout Mountain View Christian a week before the Hornets were scheduled to play the Saints.