Youbou horseshoes pitcher Jerry Melissa won the Western Canada Classic and finished fourth at the Canadian Championships last month. (Submitted by Jerry Melissa)

Youbou horseshoe pitcher best in the west, 4th in Canada

Jerry Melissa still going strong at 80

Youbou’s Jerry Melissa won the elders A division at the Western Canada Classic horseshoes competition last month, then placed fourth in the Canadian Championships a week later.

Both events were held in High Prairie, Alberta.

The 80-year-old Melissa was playing against opponents 10 years or more younger than himself, but held his own, finishing both competitions with a 60 per cent ringer percentage.

“I’ve played in many Canadian Championships,” Melissa commented. “I’ve finished second several times when I pitched in the men’s class, and twice in the elders class. In Canada, pitchers can elect to throw from a shorter distance when they become 65 years old. I am 80 years and have pitched from the shorter distance for 15 years.”

Melissa still practises daily at the Youbou Little League Park and belongs to the Victoria Horseshoe Pitching Association, based at Victoria’s Glanford Park. He attributes his continued success to good health and the support of his family and his community.

The competitions this year were unique as both events were suspended for the past years because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Melissa noted.

“While the number of horseshoe players are down from ‘pre-COVID’ days, the quality of play is as good as ever,” he said.

Lindsay Hodgins, formerly of Duncan and now living in Alberta, won the ladies division at the Canadian championships. The 25-year-old had previously won three world ladies titles and two world junior titles, as well as multiple provincial and national championships.

Local Sports