As we enter the month of May, horseracing fans begin to think about Mint Julep and the Kentucky Derby. Some of the folks in our neighborhood set their thoughts a bit lower and think about the U-shaped steel objects that all triple crown winners wear, namely horse shoes.
The shoe pits at Mather Park will come back to life, starting this weekend as the rugs are pulled back off the clay made hard from the long winter. Men will soak them down and begin softening them up as weekly tournaments take place.
When: August 14th Sunday the 40th Ward Family Fest and Annual Softball Tournament takes place, and during the festival, the yearly Horseshoe Tournament will be played.
Where: Mather Park
Address: 5941 N. Richmond St. Chicago, Illinois 60659
Last year’s champions hardly have had time to cool off since their winning performance, having been sought out almost every weekend to appear at dinners and teach clinics on playing team horseshoes. Don Hohenadel, whose championship performance last year was stellar, has spent a good deal of the off season rehabbing his shoulder and reports that he feels 100% better at the start of this season than he has for the start of the last several seasons. That is definitely bad news for challengers for his title this year. His teammate and co-champion, Pat O’Connor, has been experimenting with a new pitch delivery, working on a single rotation with no slide into the stake. Hard to figure out why he would look to change a near perfect form at this stage in his career, but that is the way these competitive athletes are, always looking to improve.
It is rumored that there may be some distractions looming this year which may mitigate against a repeat of the Hohenadel – O’Connor team’s Championship run. One of Don’s children is expecting their first child and another is getting married. That would ordinarily spell real trouble for a team looking to duplicate a near perfect season, but adversity is no stranger to the two sultans of the shoe pits, so expect them to be in the thick of it this year again.
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