The Guardsmen celebrated the completion of Golden Gate Park’s historic Horseshoe Courts renovation by co-hosting the Inaugural San Francisco International Open Horseshoe Tournament, Saturday September 12, 2009.
The Horseshoe Courts were renovated through a joint effort between the Guardsmen, the San Francisco Horseshoe Pitching Club, Golden Gate Park volunteers and the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department. The Horseshoe Courts, located near McLaren Lodge in Golden Gate Park, were built as part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration (WPA) in the 1930s. Recently the courts had fallen into disrepair and were widely used for numerous illegal activities. The volunteers and Parks Department cut down and removed overgrown trees and brush, removed dirt from the horseshoe pits, repaired the backstops, repaired and painted part of the stone walls, repaved and painted the courts and sidewalks, and began installation of a metal railing and scoreboard to protect spectators from errant throws. In addition, they improved the oak woodlands, completed a new Rim Trail on the hilltop around the courts, and uncovered two car size sculptures of a horse and horseshoe pitcher that are currently being further restored by volunteers.
Over 200 participants and spectators attended the Re-Dedication Ceremony and Tournament. Mayor Newsom and representatives from the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department, Fire Department, and Police Department were also in attendance. Two-time World Horseshoe Pitching Champion Brian Simmons and State Champions Rick Birmingham and Kimmy Stockli competed in the tournament and assisted in introducing the sport to a new generation of San Franciscans. Attendees enjoyed a BBQ pork lunch provided by the Guardsmen with refreshments provided by Hint Water, Zola Acai, Rockstar Energy Drinks, and Pabst Blue Ribbon.
Mayor Gavin Newsom threw the ceremonial first pitch to officially re-open the horseshoe courts and kick off the inaugural tournament. Mayor Newsom stated “Horseshoes is a fun and exciting game for people of all ages. I am pleased these historic horseshoe courts have been renovated and I look forward to seeing them utilized by San Franciscans for years to come.”
Guardsmen Ted Bartlett stated “The Guardsmen greatly enjoyed working closely with the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department, the San Francisco Horseshoe Pitching Club and Golden Gate Park volunteers to make this renovation and tournament happen. The Guardsmen are proud of the city it serves and we look forward to continue contributing in other public-private projects and events.”