What I Do: Herman C. Harper, 72 

Champion horseshoe player, Gillies Creek Park

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It really takes practice and a good eye. You got to have a good eye. You have to develop that style, for one thing. [How would you describe your style?] Well, smooth. Smooth. Smooth. [pauses] And active.

Some people hold their shoes a different way. See how he hold his shoe back and flip it? Some people have their own style. I hold mine from the side. There are all kinds [of shoes] you can pick, you can buy. I've had mine over 18 years. I stick to mine. These are American. Yeah, American. I picked American.

I pitch the shoe called the roundhouse. Throw mine roundhouse. And they always used to say that a roundhouse can't beat no flip. … I can beat the best out there.

On Saturday I played a tournament, I pitched 324 ringers out of 502. [A ringer is a shoe that comes to rest encircling the stake.] They thought that was outstanding. I did too.

I picked horseshoes 'cause it seems like exercise. More fun for me. And really a lot of exercise, because you're moving all the time. I don't have no problem with arthritis or nothing. But pitching all day, a long time, I do get a little tired, you know. Especially in that sun there Saturday. They were a little younger than I was, and they figured that well, by being in that sun I would get hot and weak quicker. But I hung in there on 'em, though. Yeah, I hung in there. I drank me some … real cold water, a little bit of water, you know. And I ate me some Tootsie Rolls. … See, I keep Tootsie Rolls with me all the time when I play, see? [He pulls a handful from his pocket.] It's energy. You know, sweets give you energy. So when I chew this Tootsie Roll, it gives me a little energy, I can hang a little longer.

Lemme show you. Show you my roundhouse. See, this a roundhouse. I hold my shoe like this. [He throws. Clink.] Yeah, it's on there. The main thing what you do, you take your time. S



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