Kamloops man wins Canadian horseshoes title
The horseshoes turned out to give good fortune to Al Gushta at the Canadian horseshoes pitching championships in Saskatoon on the weekend.
Gushta, a 76-year-old member of the Kamloops Horseshoes Club, won the Canadian elder men’s B title on Sunday. It was the second national title for Gushta, who had taken a men’s G title at a Canadian championships back in the 1980s.
He went into this year’s tournament feeling confident, and did just as well as he had hoped.
“I was expecting to do well — I was playing pretty good,” he said. “I was ranked top in the B group with a 52 (ringer percentage). I ended up going above my percentage, with 56.”
Horseshoes, like the recreational game, feature pitchers aiming to throw horseshoes around a 15-inch stake for points. The younger throwers’ courts are 40 feet long, but the elders throw from 30 feet.
The nationals include divisions for men, women, juniors and elders. If there are more than eight people in those divisions, they are divided into groups based on ringer percentage — A is the highest, and they go down the alphabet from there.
The ringer percentage is tabulated based on results from previous tournaments, so as to avoid sandbagging.
Each of the groups plays a double round-robin over three days, meaning each player has to endure 14 games. Gushta went 12-2 over those games, edging Alberta’s Don Courville, who went 11-3.
Gushta knew he had to win his last game to avoid a one-game playoff with Courville, and managed a two-point victory.
The Canadian championship doesn’t mean the season is done for Gushta. He is getting ready for an international tournament in Vancouver in two weeks, before the provincial championships in Victoria on Labour Day weekend.
Gushta finished second in the A division in Winfield in 2009, and also has won two provincial B titles, a C title and a D title.