New England Hall of Fame
/Debbie Pickering//

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In 1964 a New Hampshire family who were all very active in horseshoe pitching adopted a little girl. The little girl could not have known at that time that as her life went on she would come to be known as one of the top horseshoe pitchers in the world.

When her horseshoe-pitching career began in 1965 there was not a junior girls division so she was required to compete against women in the women divisions. In the first recorded tournament that there is documentation for, she played in the Vermont Open in Class B averaging 2.5% and placing last. In a subsequent New England Tournament she played in Class C losing all her games but two (one was a bye) averaging 5.0%. Although information regarding her tournament activity for the next two years, 1966 and 1967, is sketchy there is documentation that in 1966 when the Keene Open was called the New Hampshire Invitational, that she won her first trophy placing third in Class B and averaging 7.9%.

In 1968 when she was twelve years old, ringers began to take shape. She began the year with a 14.4% in the Ma. Open and improved her percentage to 24.1% during the Maine Open which was held a short time later. In July the World Tournament came to Keene and afforded this young lady the first opportunity to pitch with other girls her age in the Championship Class of the Junior Girls Division. In this tournament she won two games and lost three but averaged 31.7%, which was already a 17% improvement that took place in two short months. In the 1968 N.H. State Tournament she averaged 51.2% placing third in the State and pitching a personal high game of 63.9%, a game that she lost to Cal Lankhorst. The New England Horseshoe Tournament was held in Maine in 1968 and she was number 6 in the Class A Women's Class. However, she averaged 54.3% for the tournament and place third with a high tournament game of 75%. Over the summer of 1968 she improved her percentage from 14.4% in June to 54.3% in September; a remarkable increase of 40%.

From 1968 to 1974 her horseshoe percentage went as high as 61.9% and also went as low as 40%. Primarily she attained an average in the mid 50% winning two State Titles during that time and placing second a number of times in New England.

In 1974 she took a three year break from the sport and pursued other interests (children) before coming back to the game in 1977. At this time she participated in the State Horseshoe Championship and began a long reign as the New Hampshire State Horseshoe Champion. In 1977 she averaged 60.3% even though she had not touched a shoe since 1974. During this same year she attended the New England horseshoe tournament which was held in Springfield, Vermont and defeated the then current World Horseshoe Champion, Debby Michaud, and captured her first New England Title with 74% average and high game of 82.1%.

Since 1977 she has had some highlights in her career and they are as follows:

1. First woman inducted into the New Hampshire Horseshoe Pitcher's Hall of Fame in 1982.

2. Only 100% game (sanctioned) pitched in New Hampshire History (Possibly New England).

3. Best New Hampshire ringer average overall for State tournaments for a life- Time - (69.5%, 52.4%, 53.8%, 60.3%, 70.0%,69.2%,75.9%,81.2%, 70.2% 78.9% and 84.1%).

4. Highest average pitcher in New England for past three years for both men and Women - 79.4%, 80.5%, and 79.4%.

5. Third in the World in 1986 (First World Tournament as Adult) Seventh in World in 1987.

6. 4 time New England Champion

7. 10 time State Champion.

8. Personal high average in 1986 New England Tournament of 85.8%.

9. World Record set in 1987 of highest percentage game of 97%.

10. State Tournament high average of 84.1%.

11. State Secretary for New Hampshire for three years.