Alan Francis 27 time World Champion wins Ringer Classic

Two months ago, when the tornado hit, we didn’t think it would be possible to have the Ringer Classic ... Brian Fisher

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Alan Francis 27 time World Champion wins Greenville's Ringer Classic. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

GREENVILLE – More than 100 horseshoe pitchers from 17 states and Canada, including 27-time current World champion Alan Francis, descended on Greenville, known as the Horseshoe Capitol of the World, for the 64th annual Ringer Classic horseshoe pitching tournament at Greenville’s city park.

“Two months ago, when the tornado hit, we didn’t think it would be possible to have the Ringer Classic, but the city jumped up to the challenge,” said Darke County Horseshoe Club president Brian Fisher. “Greenville is just magnificent when it comes to a challenge and when it comes to helping us prepare for this horseshoe tournament.”

“We have a very supportive mayor,” he added. “Mayor Whitaker is doing a great job. He was here Saturday and Sunday and gave a welcome speech to everyone. It’s good to have someone on board with us the way the Mayor and the city are.”

Ringer Classic 2024 (L-R) Greenville Mayor Jeff Whitaker, Darke County Horseshoe Club president Brian Fisher, and Hall of Fame Horseshoe pitcher Jim McCombs. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

“There is so much going on in Greenville, and we have the Horseshoe Pitching Capitol of the World right here,” said Mayor Whitaker. “We have over 100 entrants here this year, and they’re here in Greenville, Ohio, pitching and having a good time.”

Competitors came from as far away as California to pitch in the prestigious horseshoe tournament.

Reigning 27-time World Champion, Alan Francis started off the tournament averaging an incredible 90 percent ringers after one day of pitching.

“I had a good day Saturday, really pitched well,” said Ohio’s Francis. “I came out a little slower today in my first game today and didn’t pitch nearly as well, but historically, if I think back, that’s kind of the way I do it. I have a really good day, and my first game will be sub-par the next day, but I threw some nice ringers and feel good about the rest of the day.”

Greenville Mayor Jeff Whitaker (L) and 27-time World Champion Alan Francis (R) share a moment at Greenville’s Ringer Classic. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

Francis won the Men’s A with an 85.63 ringer percentage, 17.76 percent better than second-place finisher Tyler Howard. Jennifer Gegg took first in the Women’s A with a 72.10.

“For me to throw subpar the first game is all mental pressure I put on myself,” Francis noted. “The mental pressure ends up being physical pressure, so your body doesn’t do what you want it to do, and things don’t react the way they should, so I need to get those nerves out and play the way I know I can.”

Francis will soon travel to Washington state to compete in the week-long World Championship horseshoe tournament. He has won the event an unprecedented 27 times and credits God with this feat.

“It’s a God-given ability,” Francis said. “It’s a gift from God; it’s the bottom line, period. I’ve been fortunate; I’ve been allowed to pitch for 45 years, and the ability that I have been given, the opportunity to foster it and make it better, but deep down, the root cause is a gift from God.”

Gary Roberts, who recently passed away, was missed by all at the tournament. Gary’s primary hobby was pitching competitive horseshoes. Gary was the Junior World Champion for four consecutive years. He was the Ohio State Champion in 1981, served as President of the Ohio Horseshoe Pitching Association from 2004 to 2024, and was a member of the Ohio and National Horseshoe Hall of Fame. Roberts was a US Army Veteran, having served two years in Vietnam.

Gary Roberts memorial button. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

“You can’t replace a Gary Roberts; he is an ambassador,” said Fisher. “He was internationally renowned because he developed horseshoe relations with other countries, and he was a true ambassador to our sport.”

Ringer Classic Men’s A

1. Alan Francis 85.63, 2. Tyler Howard 67.87, 3. Ben Webb 63.40, 4. Gale Green 58.56, 5. Raymond Bedard 56.45, 6. Darryl Miller 55.31, 7. Josh Olson 49.74, 8. Dalton Rakestraw 47.26, 9. Rex Uhrig 40.12, 10. Austin Hill 34.39

Ringer Classic Women’s A

1. Jennifer Gegg 72.10, 2. Amy Francis 69.00, Donna Shoemaker 66.38, Sharon Chiddister 63.36, Tracy Snell 52.78, 6, Barbara Carson 37.89

All divisions included Men’s B, Women’s B, Men’s C, Women’s C, Men’s D, Men’s E, Elders A, Elders B, Elders C, Elders D, Elders E, Elders F, and Juniors A