Logan resident, retired school teacher and New Mexico Horeshoe Pitching Association President Charles Knotts placed second in the 2010 New Mexico Horseshoe Pitching Championship singles tournament in Socorro on Sept. 16. He returned home Friday from Albuquerque where he underwent a knee operation. Knotts spoke with the Quay County Sun about horseshoes, technique, and competition.
How long have you lived in Logan?
Since 1978. I got hired as a school teacher in 78. Me and my wife were both school teachers. I coached basketball and track.
How did you get started pitching horseshoes?
My dad and my grandad used to pitch on Sunday afternoons when I was little, so it kind of got me started.
When did you start pitching competitively?
Probably I think about 1991. That’s when I joined the NHPA (National Horseshoe Pitchers Association). I think I went to the state fair that year. Yeah, they used to have a tournament at the state fair. I saw them over there and got interested that way. I gave them my name, they got hold of me and I joined.
Were you always as competitive as you are now?
I used to be at a higher level (laughs). I’ve always enjoyed it, you know, enjoyed the competition.
What is the secret to a successful pitch?
It’s getting a good technique. Come up with a good technique and then it’s just practicing good habits. If you practice pitching the correct way you should improve. It’s practice.
I pitch, they call it a turn and a quarter, when the horsehoe turns “one turn and a quarter” and then it’s open to the stake. That’s what I throw. Some people throw a turn and three quarters, some throw a three-quarter turn, some throw a flip where it flips one time, some people flip where it flips twice and then it’s open to the stake. There are lots of different ways to pitch.
Did your knee affect your performance at the state tournament?
It affected it beforehand. My knee got to where I couldn’t practice because if I practiced one day I couldn’t hardly walk the next day, so I got to where I would only pitch at tournaments. My rate of percentage went down because of that. Now that I have my knee fixed I should be able to practice between tournaments, so I hope my percentage will go back up.
Are you feeling better?
Oh yeah, it feels a lot better than it was. I don’t have the pain that I had before. Before I had it fixed, every step I took, it hurt. Then the next day it nearly hurt so bad that I couldn’t get around. It’s a lot better, yeah.
What has your best performance in horseshoe pitching been so far?
I’ve been state champ several times, a couple of times in class B and maybe once in class C, and then I placed second in my class at world tournaments (Class L, Red Deer, Alberta, Canada 2002 and Class K, Spearfish, S.D. 1993). Now that’s not second out of all the pithers, just in my class. There are a bunch of tournaments in the world tournament. I got second. I tied for first, we had a pitch-off and I got second. It’s lots of fun to go to the world horseshoe pitching tournament. It’s two weeks of straight horseshoe pitching. It’s a lot of fun to go there.
Are you looking forward to the next world tournament?
I’m going to be prety competitive, I think. I am anticipating doing well. It’s going to be in Monroe, La. this next year.
How do you like to spend time when you are not pitching?
I spend time with my grandson and just run around. We go RVing. We’re going to do more of that this next year, I think, than we did last year.