St. George, Utah (July 21, 2017) – Dennis Ohms, long the driving force for horseshoe pitching in Southern Utah and throughout the Rocky Mountain region, part of more than nine decades of family legacy in the sport, will be inducted along with three others into the National Horseshoe Pitching Association’s Hall of Fame July 23 at a banquet inside the Dixie Convention Center’s Garden Room.
“Aside from the respect, he was greatly beloved and was congenial and friendly with everyone,” Seth Ohms said of his father. “Although his horseshoes now are hanging on the wall, his shoes will never be filled.”
The Hall of Fame banquet coincides with the return of the World Horseshoe Pitching Championships to Utah for a record 15th time, including twice in the last four years at the Dixie Convention Center. Highlighted by the return of 21-time world-champion Alan Francis, the nearly two-week event includes many of the top horseshoe pitchers in the world, with more than 1,000 athletes registered from 47 states and five countries.
Ralph Simon of Iowa, Herschel Walters of Indiana and Dan Sanders of Ohio will also be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Simon and Ohms enter posthumously.
Before his death in 2015 at age 69, Ohms left an indelible footprint in the Southern Utah horseshoe community. Inducted in the Promoter/Organizer category, Ohms was instrumental in the formation of the NHPA Southern Utah charter. He was elected the charter’s president at its inception in 1983 and was re-elected continuously for the rest of his life. During that span he brought the area into prominence within the horseshoe pitching world by bringing the sport to the Huntsman World Senior Games and attracting major tournaments such as the Western Regional, and helping St. George land the 2013 world championships after a 47-year absence in the Beehive state.
Ohms, whose father Ray began pitching competitively in the 1920s, was the owner and operator of Omega Horseshoes, which brought back the early John Gordon-designed Spin-On horseshoe. Since the modern design now carries the legendary Gordon name, it was re-named “Legend” in honor of all the greats of the sport who pitched it.
“He was a promoter of horseshoe equipment for the NHPA for over 30 years, making personal connections across the horseshoe world,” Seth Ohms recalled. “He started the first NHPA youth horseshoe league and always had a soft spot for youth and worked to get them involved in the sport. He oversaw the construction of nearly 200 horseshoe courts at more than a dozen towns and cities in Southern Utah and personally directed almost 1,000 tournaments. For perspective, most people direct one a year and think it is a hard job.”
The Hall of Fame banquet opens at 5 p.m. for socializing, with the dinner and awards starting at 6 p.m. The price to attend is $30.
Later in the week, the world championship rounds begin. Francis will begin defense of his crown on July 27. The tournament culminates with the championship round July 29.
For More Information:
About the Office of Sports and Recreation
The St. George Area Sports Commission was established by the Washington County Commission to help responsibly grow the sports and recreation economy in Washington County, Utah, through the promotion and development of sports, and outdoor recreation.