Hibbing Daily Tribune
HIBBING — Sue Pierce went along for the ride, but she got more than she bargained for.
Pierce competed in the 2019 World Horseshoe Championships in Wichita Falls, Texas, on a whim, and the Hibbing native finished with an 11-2 record to place second in the Women’s K Division on July 26-28.
Pierce was tagging along with her husband, Ray Sr., who knew he was going to compete in the competition.
“This was something on Ray’s bucket list, and I said, ‘If we’re going to go down there, I might as well pitch, too,’” Pierce said. “Ray wanted to go last year, but we weren’t able to get things lined up.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever been to Worlds. He’s already pumped for next year, but I said I’d like to go out on top. It was fun.”
It doesn’t take much to qualify for the World Tournament, All Pierce did was sign up, but she did have to have her ringer percentage handy.
It’s like state,” Pierce said. “They line you up with the highest percentages getting the higher seeds. They take 16 people, and that’s how you get your divisions.
“I was in the last group of 14.”
Going in, Pierces’ ringer percentage was 11.
When she finished the three-day affair, with 13 matches, Pierce raised her ringer percentage to 14.
“You’re always a little bit nervous, but with where I ended up, in that group of 14, I was third from the top,” Pierce said. “The people under me had less percentage than me. I was confident that I could beat them if I threw my percentage.”
On day one of the Worlds, Pierce went 4-1.
That’s when her confidence started to soar.
On the second day, she went 4-0. On day three, she finished 3-1 for an overall record of 11-2, good for second.
Pierce also liked the fact that her children kept in contact with her during the meet. She was always there during their sporting activities. Now, the shoe was on the other foot.
“My kids were watching us live because they had two cameras in the pits,” Pierce said. "I have to say that that was the most fun of it, having them come back and cheer me on.
They were sending me texts telling me, ‘You’re doing great mom. Keep doing what you’re doing.’
“Like I’ve told my boys, ‘Anybody can beat anybody.’ You can’t go in with a negative attitude. You have to go in with a positive attitude, and do your best.”
On those three days, Pierce was at her best.
“Horseshoes is a funny game,” she said. “Some days you’re on, and some days, you can’t seem to throw. I was pitching well. I got into a rhythm, and I had a good tournament.
“This wasn’t something I was yearning to do, but Ray wanted to pitch, so I pitched with him.”
The Pierces returned home last Friday, but there’s no rest for the weary.
They are prepping for the State Tournament, which will be held at the Hibbing Memorial Arena over the Labor Day weekend.
“We’re practicing at the club on Tuesday night,” Pierce said. We already have our percentages turned in, but we’re busy right now getting portable pits into the arena. We have to arrange the scoring and concession stands.
“We want to do a good job hosting it, but when we get our turn to throw, hopefully, we do well.”