Bob Swain of Bullhead City, Arizona used an overwhelming edge in ringers to overcome a 54-point differential and go undefeated in Class A to win the Shade Tree Open horseshoes tournament on July 18 at Petrack Park in Pahrump.
Swain’s 6-0 record included a 1-point win over Ken Jose, a 2-point win over Dennis Andersen and a 4-point win over Dan Dunn, but it was his 52-34 win over second-place Kasey Dilger that in the end locked up the tournament championship. Dilger compiled a tournament-best 340 points fueled by a 63-43 win over Andersen and a 60-27 win over Ty Frazier, but it wasn’t enough against Swain, who pitched with a zero handicap.
Class B champ Joseph Kalache, also pitching with a zero handicap, also won despite not leading his division in points. Kalache used 68 ringers, 20 more than runner-up James Hatch, to go 5-1, losing only to Dave Barefield. Hatch and Mike Nicosia each went 4-2, with Hatch breaking the tie on points, 218-213.
Steve Dilger won Class C on a points tiebreaker after he and George Mallory each went 4-1. Mallory recorded three more ringers, but Dilger totaled 146 points to Mallory’s 122.
The Shade Tree Open was sanctioned by the Nevada State Horseshoe Pitching Association, but Swain also won the nonsanctioned Firecracker Open run by the Southern Nevada Horseshoe Pitching Association. Swain teamed with Russ Jacobs to go 10-0 in the doubles tournament.
Lathan Dilger is the president of both groups, which didn’t help at the Firecracker Open; he and brother Gary combined to go 0-10 in the event. Dan Dunn and John Pickard finished the tournament 8-2 to place second, while Kasey Dilger and Willy Zuloaga won a tiebreaker to take third over Steve Lopez and Jefferson Counts after each pair went 7-3.
“On the sanctioned tournaments, we hand out a patch to the division winners and Division A gets a tournament champion patch, plus first second and third place division winners get prize money,” Lathan Dilger said. “In the nonsanctioned tournaments, I hand out trophies plus prize money.
“I would like to thank all my sponsors — trophies by Strickland Construction, cooler by AVCO Builders, folding chair by Way Out West Realty, two 28-inch pizzas by Big Dick’s Pizza, a $20 gift card from Tower Pizza, a $20 gift card from Shadow Mountain Feed, a $50 gift card from Carmelo’s Bistro and Pizza, five $10 Burger King gift cards, two medium pizzas by Domino’s and two $20 gift cards by Naked Burro.”
Dilger has plans for a large nonsanctioned tournament later this year.
“When it cools off, I’m going to have an Olympic-style horseshoe and cornhole tournament with medals — gold, silver and bronze — to the division winners and prize money,” he said. “All ages will be welcome: 18 to 39, 40 to 49, 50 to 59, 60 to 69, 70 to 100.”