Lathan Dilger of Pahrump had a couple of goals when he became president of the Nevada Horseshoe Pitchers Association, and he has the same goals for the Pahrump Dust Devils: increase participation and increase sponsorships.
Last weekend’s tournament at Petrack Park during the Pahrump Fall Festival showed both to be realistic goals.
Sixteen pitchers took part in the doubles tournament, and a prize pool of $550 reflected Dilger’s efforts.
“We had eight new players who had never played in a tournament before,” Dilger said. “We took the guys who always played and paired them with the new guys so it was totally fair for everybody.”
Dilger said there was a full round-robin, giving each duo seven games, which were played to 21 points. Dennis Andersen and newcomer John Pickard finished first and split $250, while Mark Kaczmarek and newcomer Jim Hatch shared $180 for second place.
Third place was a bit more complicated, as Dilger and newcomer Willy Zuloaga, Dan Dunn and newcomer Mike Dedeic and Louie Lewindowski and newcomer Jefferson Counts ended the tournament in a tie.
“We were all 4-3,” Dilger said. “What we did is we played another round robin, and whoever comes out 2-0 is the winner. Well, we ended up finishing 1-1 again, so we had a second playoff. We barely beat Louie and Jeff. Those guys played really good. We actually had people watching this whole thing because it was so intense for third place.”
Finishing among the top three at the Fall Festival was more lucrative than many horseshoes tournaments because of the increased money Dilger brought in from sponsors around Pahrump. The pitch was straightforward.
“I’d just call them up and tell them that we’re having a really nice horseshoes tournament during the Fall Festival, and we need some sponsors for prize money, trophies or raffle prizes,” Dilger said.
Sponsors included Strain (trophies), Whitaker ($100 prize money), Chad Goins of Goins Insurance Agency ($100 prize money), the Pahrump Chamber of Commerce ($100 prize money), Veronica at Smoke Shop Express (knives), Judy of Lighthouse Gifts (alien mug), Cindy of G.I. Store (hats), Brett of Mom’s Diner (four dinner vouchers), Kim of the Pourhouse (five pizza vouchers), Ashley of Subway (30 6-inch sub vouchers), C.J. of Domino’s (three pizza vouchers), Kelly of Nicco’s Pizza ($25 dinner vouchers), Bob of Tarantino’s Pizza (two vouchers for one pizza each month for a year) and Golden Casino Group (vouchers for free bowling and dinners at company properties).
Dilger estimated the value of the raffle prizes to be more than $400.
Dilger has big plans for the coming year, including for next year’s Pahrump Fall Festival.
“I want to do a Saturday and a Sunday,” he said. “Saturday, singles horseshoes tournament in the morning around 10 or 11 after the parade, and then singles cornhole after that. Then Sunday, a doubles horseshoes tournament and then a doubles cornhole tournament.”
The next tournament in Pahrump is the final tournament on the state calendar, the Pahrump Boo Halloween event at 9:30 a.m. Oct. 26. The Pahrump Dust Devils pitch at 10 a.m. each Wednesday and Saturday at Petrack Park’s horseshoes pits, and all are welcome.