As a youngster, Jim Grant remembers his uncle having a small horseshoe pit in his back yard in Richmond.
During social get-togethers, family and friends would play a game or two, however the kids were never allowed to play.
Years later, while visiting his brother in Arizona, Grant was riding his bike around the park complex when he heard the clang of metal on metal and went to investigate.
A group of residents were gathered around one of the horseshoe pits enjoying a game in the morning sun.
Following an invite from one of the locals, Grant borrowed a set of horseshoes and the passion began.
“It was a real social thing, I didn’t know the rules or anything,” said the Cloverdale senior. “But when I went back the following year, I bought myself my own set.”
When he got home again, Grant went looking for clubs near his North Surrey home and soon found the Cloverdale Horseshoe Club, a small club tucked away on the northeast corner of the Cloverdale Fairgrounds on 64 Avenue and 178 Street.
That was 2009, and by the fall of that year, Grant was club president.
During the mid-1980s the main clubhouse, a small log cabin with a full kitchen, was built to replace the original rail car and outhouse that had long outlived it’s lifespan.
Although the club numbers have fallen slightly over the last few years, those who remain are passionate about their sport.
The club hosts five tournaments a year, along with three main provincial tournaments – the B.C. Championships, Canadian Championships and the Lower Mainland Championships – held on a rotating basis with other clubs around the province and across the country.
Players are ranked based on their “ringer” percentage, how often a pitched shoe completely rings the stake at the end of the pit, with percentages ranging from two or three per cent to as high as 90 per cent.
To keep games competitive, players only play against similarly ranked competitors.
‘We had a fellow recently who had a two-per-cent ranking but had to play against 20-per cent players only because of numbers at the tournament. He was brand new to the game and didn’t stand chance of winning but it was all about gaining experience and he had a fantastic time and learned a lot,” said Grant.
“Everybody wants to win, so by playing in your own class you can win or at least get your money back, plus…it’s just a fun day. We serve breakfast and lunch and often give out various prizes as well.”
The club also hosts up to 500 kids a year through numerous school programs.
If you are interested in giving horseshoe pitching a try, drop by the club any Tuesday or Thursday at 6:45 p.m. at 17886 64 Ave., or check out www.cloverdalehorseshoeclub.com