Though there are many variations on how horseshoes are played and scored, at FSC: One player pitches both shoes in succession to one pit, followed by the other player, once known as an “inning”.
Normally only one pitcher can score points per inning, however some leagues and tournaments play “count all”, in which all points in each inning are counted. A live shoe that is not a ringer, but comes to rest six inches (6”) or closer to the stake, has a value of one (1) point. This includes a “leaner”. If both of one player’s horseshoes are closer than the opponent’s, two points are scored. A ringer scores three points. In the case of one ringer and a closer horseshoe, both horseshoes are scored for a total of four points. If a player throws two ringers, that player scores six points. If each player throws a ringer, the ringers cancel and no points are scored. If two ringers are thrown by one player and one ringer by the opponent, the player throwing two ringers scores three points. This is typically called “two dead and three” or “three ringers three” for score keeping purposes. Such occurrences are called “dead ringers” and are still used toward the pitcher/ringer average. Back-yard games can be played to any number of points that is agreed upon, but are usually to 21 points, win by 2. In most sanctioned tournaments the handicapped divisions pitch 50 shoe games, most points win. If there is a tie, the pitchers pitch an additional 2 innings (alternating pitch) until the tie is broken. Championship divisions, or non-handicapped divisions are pitched to 40 points, regardless of the number of shoes pitched. In Philadelphia when a player tops another players ringer the player is awarded 6 points.
There are two ways to score: by throwing “ringers” or by throwing the horseshoe nearest to the stake. A ringer is a thrown horseshoe such that the horseshoe completely encircles the stake. Disputes are settled by using a straightedge touch the two points at the ends of the horseshoe, called “heel calks”. If the straightedge doesn’t touch the stake, then the horseshoe is a ringer.
Horseshoes at the Factoryville Sportsmen’s Club are thrown from January thru April, Thursdays, 7:00 pm come earlier for refreshments/registration.