By Mark Bergon
Special to The PREVIEW
There are few sports that allow an age difference of 80 years between contestants and, even more, remain legitimately competitive. Horseshoe pitching is one of them, as spectators and contestants witnessed at this year’s Archuleta County Fair.
The horseshoe competition has been a staple of the fair since the mid-1980s. This year’s event entertained a wide range of skill levels from the 22 participants who took a time out from their normal occupations to relax and have fun, as well as see who would prove the best at tossing his shoe around the stake.
Ninety-two-year-old Stan “Iron Man” Ellis, from Pagosa Springs, and 12-year-old Thomas “The Tiger” Vigil, of Albuquerque, faced each other in the doubles segment. Neither competitor backed off his game throughout the day. In the end, Vigil and his partner, Duwayne “Coon” Reval, from Dulce, N.M., took home the first-place trophies. Ellis and Kerwin Phone, also from Dulce, placed second. While Doug Neuwald and Bart Cox, both from Pagosa Springs, claimed third place out of 10 teams.
In the singles portion, Reval remained unbeaten, taking first place. Larry Ulibarri, of Pojoaque, N.M., placed second. And Dulce’s Duane Collado took third.
This annual event is hosted free of charge by the Archuleta County Fair for fun, healthy competition and to promote camaraderie among all those who participate.
By Mark Bergon