By Conrad Dudderar
A Yukon horseshoe pitching legend is being remembered for both his aim and kindness.
The family of the late James “Jim” Crockett presented gifts totaling $2,000 to the Yukon Horseshoe Club during a recent state horseshoe pitching tournament in Yukon.
Crockett passed away this year after being inducted into the Oklahoma Horseshoe Pitchers Association (OHPA)’s Hall of Fame.
“Jim was an uplifting individual,” said Ken Ryel, secretary/treasurer of the Yukon Horseshoe Club. “He never met a stranger.
“Everybody loved him. He was a legend.”
Crockett pitched horseshoes competitively for about 45 years and was state champion several times in his division.
“There’s not a better ambassador for horseshoes than Jim Crockett,” Ryel added.
Former Yukon Parks & Recreation Director Jan Scott, a longtime Yukon Horseshoe Club advocate, recalled how well-loved Crockett was among club members.
“Jim was a gentle giant and a great person,” Scott said.
The Yukon Horseshoe Club will use the $2,000 contribution from the Crockett family to substantially increase prize winnings at the Jim Crockett Memorial Tournament.
Oklahoma’s top 50 horseshoe pitchers competed over Labor Day weekend during the annual state singles tournament at the Yukon Horseshoe Courts in Yukon City Park.
“The best pitchers in the state came,” Ryel said. “It was Oklahoma participants only.”
Seven winners on Saturday advanced to pitch with the championship group on Sunday.
Gary Bearpaw was named 2022 OHPA men’s champion, Sarah Hicks was women’s champion and Al Ross earned the title of elder’s champion.
Yukon is selected to host this annual state horseshoe pitching competition because of the city’s central location and high quality of its sand horseshoe pitching courts, according to Ryel.
Local horseshoe pitchers have regularly welcomed large tournaments since 2013 after upgrades were made to Yukon’s horseshoe court complex.
The horseshoe club previously recognized Scott for her efforts to secure funding for the remodeling project.
‘GREAT TIME HAD BY ALL’
The Yukon Horseshoe Club invites Yukon residents to check out the Yukon City Park Horseshoe Courts off Jim Watson Drive.
The club has league play at 7 p.m. Tuesdays from late April through mid-October.
“Anybody can pitch in league,” Ryel emphasized. “Everybody has a chance to win.
“It’s just a ‘great time had by all’.”
The club is open to anyone with an interest in horseshoe pitching who wants to have fun.
For more information about the Yukon Horseshoe Club, call Ryel at (405) 306-8400.
The OHPA has a sanctioned horseshoe tournament somewhere in the state every Saturday from April through October.
The group is always looking for new members. Anyone interested should check out their website at http://www.oklahomahorseshoes.org or visit their Facebook page.