A local man pitched himself into horseshoe-tossing history Monday night when his ringer stopped in midair on an iron stake.
Horseshoe players told Mark Gaudet of Rumford they’d never seen anything in four decades of playing like his gravity-defying ringer.
“It was just one of them once-in-a-lifetime shots, really,” Gaudet said Wednesday.
Despite sticking the horseshoe in midair, he said it was only worth three points in the game at the Hosmer Field Complex.
“It was still just a ringer,” he said
Gaudet said he and Dubois were leading by 15 points and had thrown 16 to 18 shoes. He said he was using Dubois’ specialized horseshoes, which had big hooks on the ends.
“I hit it high on the pole and it was swinging around on its way down and all of a sudden, it just stopped dead right in the middle of the pole, like it hit a burr or paint buildup,” he said Wednesday.
Only there wasn’t any such catch. One side of the shoe was caught fast on the stake while the other end of the metal shoe hung in midair.
“It wedged itself pretty good on there between the hooks,” Gaudet said. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Club President Artie Taylor asked, “You know what a horseshoe looks like? Where it curves, she just froze (on the post) right there.”
Jim Roy of Dixfield, another witness, offered what he called a plausible explanation for how a metal horseshoe weighing more than 2 pounds could hang in midair from a post.
“Artie Taylor had spray-painted those posts before we started playing,” Roy said. “And all those coats of paint made it thick enough for when that shoe hit that post, the fit was so tight and it hit it just exactly right to suspend that horseshoe about 2 inches off the ground.”
It was the funniest thing he ever saw, Roy said. “People were laying on the ground and taking pictures of it. When that shoe hit that post with that buildup of paint, I think it made it such a tight fit.”
Viewing photographs Giroux took of the “miracle pitch,” retired physics teacher Bitsy Ionta of Dixfield said Thursday that scientifically, what happened is possible.
“It looked like the post may be a little tapered and the horseshoe slid down it and the little part by the end (of the shoe) stuck,” Ionta said. “The post is probably pitted and rusted, so that would probably help it. So, I think it’d be possible. Stranger things have happened.”
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