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Date of Issue: July 22, 2009

Anna Maria horseshoe venture brief, but fun

sport pic
Debbie Rhodes shows good form on this toss during horseshoe action at the Anna Maria City Hall horseshoe pits. Islander Photos: Kevin Cassidy
sport pic
Steve Doyle and Jeff Moore break out the ruler to determine whose shoe is closer to the post during horseshoe action in Anna Maria.
sport pic
Jeff Moore and Debbie Rhodes pose with the "coveted" duck trophy after winning the July 18 horseshoe competition.

A visit to the Anna Maria City Hall horseshoe pits on July 18 produced plenty of action, plus I also gave the game an old college try.

Arriving just a few minutes before the kick off for warmups, I pitched in — pun intended — to help Sam Samuels and Steve Doyle prepare the pits for the day’s horseshoe action. While the maintenance chores were under way, the remainder of the participants trickled in and began their warmup tosses.

While writing weekly reports on the action at the city pits sent to The Islander by Ron Pepka, I get to know the frequent winners, so I was feeling pretty good about my chances when I randomly drew Sam “Six-Pack” Samuels as my teammate.

Unfortunately, for Sam, on this day I would have had trouble hitting the broadside of a barn, much less a post, and we ran into the very hot throwing arm of Debbie Rhodes. We quickly found ourselves down 9-1, but Samuels earned two points and I came away with a four-point play — my highlight of the day — to pull to within 9-7 before Rhodes took over. I threw two solid points only to watch as she threw a six-pack — double ringer — to open up a 15-7 lead on the way to a 23-9 victory.

Our second match of the morning got off to a good start as we opened up a 13-4 lead over Hank Huyghe and Steve Doyle, but then Huyghe turned up the heat. They came back to win the match 21-18, ending our hope of advancing to the playoffs.

During our final match of the day, Samuels demonstrated why he is known as “Six-Pack Sam.” He threw several ringers on the way to a 21-8 victory over Herb Ditzel and Gary Howcroft to avoid a complete skunking for the day.

At this point in the action, two teams — Moore and Rhodes and Huyghe and Doyle — had the only 2-0 records. On the way, Moore and Rhodes earned a come-from-behind 21-19 victory over Ditzel and Howcroft, while Huyghe and Doyle defeated Jay Disbrow and Bob Heiger 23-12 to advance to the finals.

The championship match saw Rhodes and Moore jump out to a 5-0 lead before Doyle earned a point to end the shutout. Rhodes and Moore were leading 8-4 when just as Rhodes threw her first shoe, Ron Pepka shouted, here comes a “Debbie flop.” As if on command, Rhodes’ shoe hit short and flipped over onto the post for a ringer. She then threw a more traditional ringer for a six-pack on her second throw, and took a 14-4 lead they would not relinquish on the way to a 22-7 victory.

If you’ve had an inkling to give the weekly horseshoe games a try, get on out there. All of the participants warmly welcome newcomers and, aside from some good-natured ribbing, the fellowship is genuine.

The July 15 games saw two teams emerge from pool play. Gary Howcroft and Steve Grossman rolled past Sam Samuels and Jeff Moore by a 23-14 score to secure bragging rights for the day.

Play gets under way at 9 a.m. every Wednesday and Saturday at the Anna Maria City Hall pits. There is no charge to play and everyone is welcome.

Key Royale golf news

The Key Royale Club women played a nine-hole, individual-low-net golf game July 14. Joyce Brown negotiated her way around the Holmes Beach course efficiently, carding an even-par-32, edging Tootie Wagner for first place in flight one. Wagner finished at 2-over 34, one shot over Penny Williams and Sue Hookem, who tied for third place.

Dorothy McKinna’s even-par 32 was good for first place in flight two, three shots ahead of Erma McMullen and Joyce Reith, who tied for second with 35. Terry Westby had a chipin on number six.

The Key Royale Club men played a nine-hole, two-best-balls-of-foursome match on July 13. The team of Don Ledford, Bob Jorgensen, John Driscoll and Paul Keyes combined to card a 9-under-par 55 and earn clubhouse bragging rights. Three shots back in second place was the team of Carl Voyles, Vince Mercadante, Peter Thommassen and Earl Huntzinger.

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