By Anthony Mitchell
For The Daily Item
SELINSGROVE -- "(The club) wouldn't even be here if it wasn't for him," said Susquehanna Valley Horseshoe Club member Ray Haskins.
Haskins was referring to the late Ken Battram, the founder of the club which calls the East Snyder Park in Selinsgrove home. Battram founded the club in 2007, using much of his own money to fuel a personal passion for horseshoes and provide enthusiasts with a place to play.
The club started playing in tournaments the following year and has evolved into a fully functioning league with 13 registered singles players and 12 doubles teams that meet on Tuesdays (singles) and Thursdays (doubles) every week.
According to club president Jim Brooks, the pins to which each pitcher throws are 40 feet apart with 30-foot lines also used as an option for competitors 70 years of age or older and females.
In horseshoes, each player, called a pitcher, is divided into classes based on the percentage of their throws that result in a ringer (the horseshoe falls around the pin), with Class A being the highest percentage. Last year, the club saw one of its own win a state title in his first year of competitive horseshoes.
Ivan Header, who had started horseshoes at the insistence of Haskins and other members of the club, grabbed a state championship in Class I. Header downplayed the thrill of winning a state title, describing the moment as "no big deal." He added that it always feels good to win.
The club uses a handicap all-count scoring system for singles, meaning that each ringer that is thrown counts for the normal three points, and any shoe within six inches is one point.
Under the scoring system used for the club's doubles play, if each pitcher throws a ringer, the throws cancel each other and neither pitcher is awarded points, according to Brooks.