South New Berlin hosts Horseshoe State Championship (with photos)

By Perry Russom

September 1, 2013 Updated Sep 1, 2013 at 6:20 PM EDT

New Berlin, NY (WBNG Binghamton) It's a sport you don't hear about often in the news.

This weekend, hundreds of horseshoe pitchers met in South New Berlin for the 2013 New York State Horseshoe Championships.

Gene Grover has been shooting horseshoes for the past 15 years and, yes, he knows he shares his name with Grover, the Sesame Street Character.

"Grover is my little mascot," said Grover as he pointed to the blue fuzzy monster patch on the front of his jersey. He has a matching patch on the back.

Grover was one of the more than 130 horseshoe pitchers at this year's championships.

"You don't have to have a lot of other stuff on your mind when you're pitching horseshoes," said Tournament Director Gary Fisher. "You can let the things of the world go by and not think about them."

The tournament attracted players from all across the state. Some players drove as far as Buffalo.

David Watters drove an hour and a half from New Kingston.

"That's not that far," said Watters. "I've pitched in Waterloo and other places where it's two and a half, three, four hours."

Two pitchers were inducted into the New York State Horseshoe Pitchers Hall of Fame. Raymond Hall is one of those players. He played all across the county and even into Canada.

When asked how competitive the pitchers are with each other, State Horseshoe Champion Julie Bernard said, "Sometimes you don’t see any of the competitors talking to each other because they're focusing. I focused so hard last year, I had a headache when I went home."

Next year, Buffalo will host the 2014 World Horseshoe Tournament in July.

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