After having been left off the Heartland Senior Games roster for several years, horseshoes was re-introduced this year in hopes of attracting players from the numerous communities throughout the Heartland where horseshoes are played.

A small group came out to compete at the Lee Palmer Courts in downtown Sebring on Friday and had an enjoyable time on a perfect day for pitching shoes. As with all events in the Senior Games, it provided people a chance to connect with others who share the same passion for their sport.

Gloria and Ed Stafford from Solivita in Poinciana signed up for pickleball and decided they might as well take advantage of the chance to compete in more than one event while in Sebring.

They are new to horseshoes and learned a lot from some of the more experienced competitors. Gloria picked up a gold and Ed a silver to add to their collection of medals which will surely be on show in one of the display cases they sell.

Avon Park’s Russ Gross took home a gold medal from horseshoes to add to the bronze medal earned at the table tennis tournament.

Keith Schafer, a member of the Lake Bonnet Village Horseshoe Club took gold in the 60-64 age group by defeating Tim Hudy from Whisper Lake and Dale Musser of Woodhaven Estates.

When Musser and Hudy faced off, they found that they had more in common than an interest in horseshoes. Hudy competed in the Senior Games’ table tennis tournament and will be running six events at the track and field meet on February 23. He challenged Musser to sign up for multiple sports in the 2020 Games.

Frank Lafountain from Lakeside Village and Buttonwood’s Bob Paschen are both members of the Highlands County Horseshoe Club. They competed for top honors in the 80-84 division with Lafountain coming out on top.

South Florida State College is pleased to be able to offer locals in Desoto, Hardee and Highlands Counties a chance to compete close to home in order to earn the chance to take part in the Florida Senior Games.

The organizers are hoping that word will spread and many other 55+ communities will send players to challenge for bragging rights in the 2020 Heartland Senior Games horseshoe tournament which will be held at the Lee Palmer Courts once again.

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