The North Platte Area Sports Commission is excited to partner with the local North Platte Pitchers Club to bring a new event to the area. According to a press release from the North Platte / Lincoln County Visitors Bureau, the Rail Yard Ringer Open Horseshoe Tournament will occur at the Horseshoe Pitching Facility located on the East end of Cody Park on September 11th & 12th, 2021. While the game of horseshoe’s isn’t new to the area as the local club has hosted the Nebraska State Tournament, the Horseshoe Tour, sanctioned by the (NHPA) National Horseshoe Pitchers Association, is new to the Midwest area. “We are excited about traveling to the state of Nebraska, an area of the country that will be new to us,” says Director of Operations, Ron Taylor.
While most of the Horseshoe Tour events happen in states such as North and South Carolina, Louisiana, and Nevada, the North Platte Area Sports Commission felt that the Horseshoe Tour needed to come experience the game in Nebraska. “I made contact with them a few months ago, was told there was 1 spot left on their 2021 Schedule with multiple cities interested. So I quickly put together a bid in early November, and was notified about 2 weeks later that we were selected,” says Samantha Geisler, Sports and Events Marketing Specialist. “It was a very quick process but we both knew the event and location was a perfect fit!” North Platte was 1 of 5 cities selected for the 2021 and 2022 schedule. Geisler adds “I have had my eye on hosting a horseshoe event since I met with the NHPA at a Sports Events and Tourism Conference in May of 2019.
We have one of the nicest horseshoe pitching facilities in the State, so it’s exciting to be able to use it and show it off, while making a huge impact on our community.” An event like this could not happen without the partnership with the City of North Platte Parks Department and the local club’s commitment. Mike Thomsen and Mike Richards, from the North Platte Pitchers Club, and Rex Robinson, the Regional Director and liaison for the State Association, have been very supportive in getting this event off its feet. Taylor is also confident in the selection of North Platte. “We feel this will be one of our best locations ever because of the strong horseshoe charter there [North Platte], the surrounding states that will be involved, and players from additional states that will be traveling in.”
The Horseshoe Tour was originated in 2009 and consists of 3 divisions, the Prime 40’, Prime 30’ and the Open Division. The two “Prime Divisions” are the Horseshoe Tour’s featured divisions where players with averages above 40% compete in a unique format including: 30 shoe games, ringers only, a qualifying round on Saturday, and finals on Sunday. While players are competing for the Title, all players from top to bottom [in the Prime Division] will receive a payout, based on pitching performances during the event. Taylor adds “North Platte will also be involved at a certain level with the tour “Big Game” points race”, which involves accumulated points throughout all locations on the 2021 schedule and provides a “bonus” payout at the end of the year. The “Open Divisions” were added to allow players with lower averages to participate in the same format as the prime divisions, but with restrictions and a smaller payout. “We are expecting multiple State and World Champions to attend.” says Taylor.
Due to the centralized location, the North Platte Area Sports Commission estimates that this 2-day event will bring an economic impact of $77,484 – $154,301 to the community through lodging, retail, food, and beverage purchases. The Sports Commission developed this estimate by using the Event Impact Calculator developed by Destinations International provided by membership in the national organization Sports ETA: Sports Events and Tourism Association.
In the planning stages of this tournament, retail and food vendors will be sought to provide for our players. For more details on the tournament or to get involved go to: PlayNorthPlatte.com or call Samantha Geisler at (308) 221-6865 or SGeisler@PlayNorthPlatte.com. These events are sponsored in part by the North Platte Area Sports Commission, a division of the North Platte/Lincoln County Visitors Bureau.