Utah lands another world championship — this time horseshoes

ST. GEORGE — Is Utah becoming the target sport capital of the world?

After a few years of hosting various archery tournaments including last week’s Archery World Cup and holding may biathlon competitions (cross country skiing and rifle shooting), the state has now landed the World Horseshoe Tournament in 2013.

On July 31, the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association delegates chose St. George, Utah, over York, Penn., with the winner announced during the 2011 World Horseshoe Tournament in Monroe, La.

The yearly event draws an estimated crowd of the best 1,200–1,500 competitive pitchers from around the world. Athletes qualify for the world tournament by competing in four NHPA-sanctioned tournaments during the year.

“Delegates are excited to visit St. George as a first-time destination for this tournament,” said Stuart Sipma, president of the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association. “For many, this is a family vacation and Zion National Park caught their attention.”

This year’s champion was Brian Simmons from Vermont in a neck-and-neck rivalry against Francis Allen from Ohio. Simmons boasts an overall ringer percentage of 87 and Allen 90 percent.

The 2013 World Horseshoe Tournament will be held July 22–Aug. 3, at the Dixie Convention Center.

“We are thrilled to welcome the best pitchers in the world to St. George,” said Kevin Lewis, Director of Sports Marketing with the St. George Convention and Tourism Office. “This event will showcase our town as a recognized sports destination and generate $3-$4 million during our typically slower summer season.”

Next year’s tournament will be held in Knoxville, Tenn.

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