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July 9, 2014

Winchester Park to host first night horseshoe tournament, registration open

Athens — When the sun goes down on Saturday, July 19, the action at Winchester Park will heat up as the Chandler facility will play host to its first horseshoe tournament under the lights.

The sanctioned facility first opened to pitchers in September 2012, and has been home to several day tournaments since.

City officials hope the new pavilion located near the horseshoe courts will be open in time for the event dubbed as the “Heart of Chandler.”

“I am excited about the evening tournament, because so many activities go on during the weekend that it makes it tough for people to participate,” tournament director Amy Draper said. “I hope we get more people to participate in the event since it is in the evening. It gives parents time to get kids' ball games out of the way, and come out and enjoy a game of horseshoes.”

The Heart of Chandler is an official tournament of the Texas Horseshoe Pitchers Association, and participants must be members of the organization.

Draper said there is still time to join before the tournament.

“We would like as many people possible to participate in the event,” she said.

Those looking to enjoy an evening of horseshoe competition should contact Draper as soon as possible to set a ringer average for tournament placement.

Draper said she can meet with interested participants up to the day of the event to set their average.

Registration starts at 6 p.m. on Saturday, July 19 before the shoes starting flying at 7 p.m.

For more information on the event, contact tournament director Amy Draper at 903-714-3547, via e-mail at or visit and click on the 2014 schedule.

Several members of the THPA have already signed up for the tournament online at including a former world champ from Murchison.

Paul McCreery of Murchison was the 37th member to be inducted into the THPA Hall of Fame on Friday, Oct. 8, 2010 at the State Singles Championship in Buffalo, Texas.

A member of THPA since 1987, he has brought recognition to the State of Texas through his extraordinary pitching performances at World Tournaments where he won championships in 2004 and 2005.

McCreery was also a Top A Class pitcher before he moved into the Elders class, where he became one of the dominant pitchers in this division.

He is a regular at the Chandler tournaments, and recently competed in the Chandler Classic on April 5.

In that event, he placed second in the A Class 30 division. He posted 162 ringers during the tournament.

During last year's Heart of Chandler tournament, Ed Harris placed first in the A Class 30 division, while Jeff Ratcliff was first in A Class 40.  Danny Berry took first in B Class 40, while Amy Draper was first in B Class Mixed, and Glenn Kidd was first in C Class. Rounding out the divisions, Beau Smith Jr. placed first in D Class in the 2013 event, while Sherri Milligan was first in E Class.

Already signed up to defend their title in the event are Kidd, Harris and Berry.

With several amenities around Winchester Park, spectators are encouraged to attend the Heart of Chandler tournament, and watch some of the best pitchers in the state compete.

Since the horseshoe complex opened in 2012 at Winchester Park, the city has continued to update the area surrounding the nine pits.

A fishing pond sits south of the pits to create a nice backdrop.  A fountain is positioned in the center of the pond that should be lit during the evening tournament.

Paved parking has been added near the courts, with access available off of Martin Street.

With an original completion date set at July 15, the pavilion construction might be slightly delayed. If opened by the tournament, guests will have access to restrooms, a large seating area and concessions.


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