Most horseshoes tournaments in Pahrump are open only to sanctioned players and operate under the rules of the Nevada State Horseshoe Pitching Association. But with a chili cook-off Saturday drawing a large crowd to Petrack Park, someone had the bright idea of running a tournament in which anyone could participate.
“That guy,” said Mike Norton, the NSHPA secretary/treasurer, pointing to Latham Dilger. “This is our inaugural event. In a sanctioned tournament, people who aren’t sanctioned can’t play. You’ve got to pay $35 to national just to get sanctioned. Out here, you can just show up. We wanted to open it up more to the public.”
Yet, when it was time to congratulate the winners, there were familiar faces accepting the trophies and payouts.
Mark Kaczmarek and Mike Nicosia came out of the losers bracket to defeat Dan Dunn and Randy Salzwimmer twice in the final round to capture the $120 top prize.
“Two Pahrump guys, both sanctioned players, we felt we could do it,” Nicosia said. “It wasn’t easy.”
Both games in the final round were tight, with Kaczmarek and Nicosia pulling away late in the decisive game 22-15.
“To beat Dan Dunn two games in a row is outstanding,” Kaczmarek said. “He’s a world champion.”
Dunn teamed with Don Brown to win the cornhole tournament held before the horseshoes tournament.
“It’s like the number-one growing sport right now,” Norton said of cornhole. “They had a tournament in Phoenix that was like a $100,000 payout and 800 players.”
Dunn and Brown split $100 for winning cornhole. The event also included a chili cook-off, and Dave Barefield took top honors there.
The tournament schedule resumes at 9:30 a.m. Saturday with the Pahrump Spring Open at Petrack Park. Registration closes at 9 a.m.