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State horseshoes: Evansville's Janet Larson is a champion again

Al and Janet Larson of Evansville competed in the championship class at the Minnesota Gopher Horseshoe Pitchers Association's state tournament recently, with Al finishing third and Janet winning her second state title. (Contributed)

For the second time in 11 years, Evansville's Janet Larson has brought home the highest award that Minnesota horseshoe pitchers can achieve - a state championship.

Larson, whose first title came in 2008, claimed the 2012 Women's A state championship recently at the Minnesota Gopher State Horseshoe Pitchers Association tournament in Genola. She earned runner-up honors in both 2010 and 2011.

"The championship classes have eight pitchers; four are automatically seeded and the next four come out of the Open class to earn a spot," said Larson, who was seeded No. 2 this year. "I've been in 11 state tournaments and made it to the championship six years."

The championship classes pitch 40-point cancellation games instead of a certain number of shoes. Only one player is able to score during any particular inning, with one player's ringer having the ability to cancel a ringer by an opponent. The game continues until one person reaches 40 points.

"The ladies ended up in a four-way tie in round robin," said Larson, who was seeded No. 2. "We had to do a stepladder playoff round, where the bottom two played each other, and the winner played the person in the No. 2 position, and the winner of that game played the top seed."

Larson finished the tournament with a total of 281 points and 187 ringers out of 332 shoes for a total average of 56.33.

Larson wasn't the only Alexandria Horseshoe League player entered in the state tournament. Her husband, Al, who has pitched 15 years at state, earned a third place finish in the Men's A division.

"Al was seeded No. 4 in the championship class and finished third," she said. "Dale Lipovsky, who was first, had his 29th win in the Open class.

"Al has made it into the championship eight times out of the 15. This was his third third place finish; the best he's done."

And the family connection is not done, Larson's grandchildren, Devon and Tyler Stone, are the fourth generation of pitchers in the family. They also competed in the Minnesota State Tournament, which holds open classes with players being grouped according to ringer percentages. Devon finished second in the Junior B division and Tyler third in the Cadet division.

The Larsons normally compete at the World Championships as well, but a family conflict left them out of this year's competition.

"Next year, the World Horseshoe Tournament is in St. George, Utah, and we plan on attending," said Larson.








ELDERS E - 1. Byron Foss, Alexandria, 33.64 ringer average; went 4-1 with 220 points and 103 ringers out of 250 shoes for a 41.20 average.

MEN'S F - 4. Tim Bayerl, Alexandria, 29.12 average; 304 points, 119 ringers, 34.00 avg.

JUNIOR C - 4. Kendra Swenson, Garfield, 3.21 average; 35 points, 5 ringers, 200 shoes, 2.50 average.

MEN'S B - 5. Gary Boots, Barrett, 46.15 average; 227 points, 132 ringers, 350 shoes, 37.71 avg. 7. Jerry Werk, Herman (from the Alexandria Horseshoe League), 45.76 average; 208 points, 133 ringers, 38.00 percent.

ELDERS B - 7. Phil Swenson, Alexandria, 47.90 average; 132 points, 113 ringers, 280 shoes, 40.36 avg.

MEN'S L - 6. Bruce Swenson, Garfield, 2.64 average; 66 points, 7 ringers, 250 shoes, 2.80 avg.





ALAN LARSON - THIRD - 266 points, 190 ringers, 348 shoes, 54.60 avg.


JANET LARSON - FIRST - 281 points, 187 ringers, 332 shoes, 56.33 avg.