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By Bob Wells

The first mention of horseshoes was in Al Cotton's column in the Jackson Patriot. He put a short paragraph of me winning a horseshoe tournament in Anderson, Indiana. Since he was kind enough to mention horseshoes in his column, I told him of my interest in starting a horseshoe club in Jackson. He printed my request in his column with some phone numbers for people to call.

I set down and wrote the league rules and by-laws and we had our first meeting at Jim Schneider's house. A few of the people present were Burr Rice, Dick Pelton, Ossie Williams, myself and Jim Schneider. There may have been others but I don't remember all the names. I reviewed the rules and by-laws and everyone was pleased with the format for the league. We had a second meeting and ground rules were laid to try and find the land for the courts. Jim Mure attended this meeting for the first time. Officers were elected at the meeting.

I met with the City Parks Director and he put me in touch with the superintendent of the grounds to see if we could find a place to build the courts. I met with him and we visited several parks that he felt had the potential for the courts. I picked the location at Best Field, because it had plenty of parking and bathroom facilities.

Work was started on building the courts. A local trucking company donated their truck and time and went to Grand Ledge to get clay for the courts. the city park director gave us $100 to start the league. We used the money to buy the clay. I think the city park director's name was Gary Lamb.

Our courts were crude to start with, but the league did get underway in 1973. Officers the first year was Jim Schneider, President, Jim Mure, First Vice President, Ozzie Williams, Second Vice President, Burr Rice, Treasurer and Bob Wells Secretary. There were numerous people who worked to make the courts successful in the early years. Some that come to mind are Joe Spitler, Wayne Krause, and his brother who's name escapes me, Bob Young, Jack Arndt and the Williams family. There were many others whom I can't recall. The local pallet manufacture built the shed and donated it to the club.

As the league continued to grow we held the first tournament during the Rose Festival. This got us much needed publicity and allowed me to go before the City Council and request additional money to build lights, fence, trees and install water at the course. I also appeared on Channel 6 news and talked about the club and the sport of horseshoe pitching, in addition I was on the talk radio show at Gilbert's and talked about horseshoes and the Jackson Club. Gary Lamb again supported me at this meeting talking about the progress we had made with the Rose Festival and holding the Water Wonderland Tournament. I always met with Gary Lamb every year of the club and kept him up to date on our progress. He also continued to give use $100 every year. The Council approved our request for money, I believe it was for $5,000 dollars. My company transferred me to Illinois in 1978. Tom Bracey and Justin Perticone and others then went to work after that to add the improvements to the courts.
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