Page 3 of 7International Competition comes to Beloit
The demise of the Pitchin' Palace brought another opportunity to the Beloit club. At the world tournamnet in Huntsville, AL in 1984 the idea of an International Team Tournament was spawned during a conversation between Tom Roanhouse, owner of the Pitchin' Palace and Bob Fanjoy of Hamilton, Ont. It was decided that the name of the event should be "The Canadian-American Friendship Tournament: or "Can-Am" as it was known the first few years. In February of 1985 the first Can-Am was held at the Pitchin' Palace with Minnesota winning their first title. The competition is between four person teams representing their State or Canadian Province.
In the Spring of 1989 the Pitchin' Palace was closed. Seeing this as an opportunity to keep a popular event going and bringing it to Beloit the club contacted the members of the tournament commitee to see if they would be willing to continue if a suitable facility could be found at Beloit. Upon recieving unanimous support from the commitee the City of Beloit was contacted regarding the possibility of renting the pavilion at Telfer Park for the event.
With the co-operation of Lee Fassett, Director of Public Works, Jerry Edwards and Sue Porter of the Beloit Youth Hockey Association, Mark Edwards, Diane Cox and the crew at Telfer Park, arrangements were made to turn the pavilion into a Horseshoe Pitching arena as soon as the ice was removed in early April. Portable courts and scoreboards were trucked in on loan from the Eau Claire Horseshoe Club, 24 courts were set up and filled with 30 barrels of Chenoa clay which had been puchased from the Pitchin' Palace and on the last weeken dof April 1990 "Team World" as it is now called came to Beloit. Twenty teams from as far away as California with Ontario and Saskatchewan representing Canada made up the largest field ever for the event.
Complete round-robin between all the teams began on Friday and ended about noon on Sunday. The top 5 teams competed in a ladder play-off on Sunday afternoon with the Indiana team edging out defending champion Minnesota for the World title. Indiana was also the first recipient of the "Team World Cup" which was bought and donated to the tournament by the Beloit Horseshoe Club. This trophy has since traveled to many states.
The Pitchin' Palace had only 12 courts and had very little space for spectators. The size of the pavilion at Telfer makes it an ideal location for this event. This as well as the many motels and resturants near by has made Beloit a popular destination for horseshoe pitchers has helped to make Team World one of the most important tournaments in the sport.
At the first Team World, professional bowler Walter Ray Williams Jr., a 6 time World Champion, having just competed in the PBA tour in Hartford, Ct. flew in to the Rockford Airport, rented a car and made it in time to compete in the second round on Saturday helping the California team to finish in seventh place. Other former world champions to compete in TEam World in Beloit Include: 3 time champ Dale Lipovsky of Minnesota, 2 time champ Mark Seibold of Indiana, 1955 World Champion Don Titcomb of California, 7 time World Champion Alan Francis of Ohio, 10 time Woman's champion Vicki Winston of Missouri, 5 time champ Phyllis Negaard of Minnesota, 3 time champ Sue Snyder of Kentucky, 2 time champ Bev Nathe of Minnesota, 1987 Woman's Champ Sandy Jensen of Ontario, Canada, 1993 Women's Champ Cathy Carter of Iowa, and champion Sylvianne Moissan of Quebec. Also former Canadian Champions Andre LeClere of Quebec, Colin Finney of Saskatchewan and Steve Hohl of Ontario. This caliber of competition is the reason no one from Beloit has ever competed in Team World. The Beloit Horseshoe Club feels honored to be able to host the event each year. This event is like the All Star Game of horseshoe pitching.