|////////// VERMONT HALL OF FAME|
|Raymond Benson, 81,
resides in Springfield, Vermont. He has been married for the past 58
years to the former Adeline Gierko. Ray has one son, Peter, a middle
school teacher in Springfield for nearly 30 years. Peter is married to
Michele Benson. Ray and Adeline have three grandchildren, Meredith,
Emily, and Amanda who range in age from 24 to 29.
Ray is a World War II veteran, having served for five years in the United States Army. His duties included being an ambulance driver in the European theater. His civilian careers have been logging, machinist, and fiberglass cover production.
He participated in baseball as a youth and young adult. He also enjoyed winter sports such as skiing and skating. Ray had a great deal of fun playing recreational horseshoes prior to participating in his first sanction tournament in the late 1960's in Brattleboro, Vermont, where Lester Georgina was the tournament director.
After being bitten by the horseshoe bug, he began to travel around New England with Adeline and the grandchildren to the many wonderful clubs. He fondly remembers his visits to Keene, NH, Springfield, MA. Lewiston, ME, as well as the established clubs in Brattleboro, VT. Bennington, VT., and Middlebury, VT.
He tested out his Ted Allen shoes with a 1-¾ turn. He later moved to a 1-¼ turn with stainless steel shoes.
Ray also longed to play closer to home. He helped to establish the Springfield, Vermont Horseshoe Club. He fondly remembers that the late Robert Horton was the main mover and shaker in this operation. Ray states that Granny Dressel, Frank Lengyel, Paul Sylvia, and the late Bud Belageron were also instrumental in clearing out the land, planting the grass, and making the 18 outstanding courts at this lighted facility.
Ray had a hand in the operation of two tournaments at this facility. He was assisted by Adeline and Wendell Burton. He saw enormous amount of work in organizing, scheduling, and general clerical work needed to run tournaments.
Ray and Adeline had the opportunity to attend four World Tournaments. Two were held in Keene, NH and the others were in Erie, PA and Middlesex, NJ. They saw the best horseshoe pitchers in North America shoot in the 70 and 80% range throughout an entire tournament.
Ray has played in the New England Tournament from the years 1971 through 1986, playing in such places as Keene NH, Sutton, MA, Lewiston, ME, and Springfield, VT. His best finish was 2nd place in the year 1976, Class C, with a 5 - 2 record, shooting a 49.1% in Sutton, MA. In the Vermont States, 1971-78. In 1971, Class A, 4-3; 41.3%, 1973, Class A, 2-5; 46.5%, 1974, Class A, 3-4; 48.4% with high game 59.0%. Other tournaments: In 1969 at the Springfield Club Annual Tournament, 6-1; 44.6% and 1970 in the Club Championship, 4-1; 49.6%. In 1972, the Springfield Round Up, Class A, 4-1; 44.0%.
The game of horseshoes has meant a great deal to Ray. The competition and camaraderie make this sport unique! Ray and Adeline have made lifetime friends and acquaintances through this game. The game is full of wonderful men and women. It is not a rich person's sport but one of the common man. Ray has enjoyed his time amongst these fine people.
The Vermont Horseshoe Pitchers Association is honored to induct Raymond Benson into the Vermont Hall Of Fame as an Organizer/Pitcher.