It was recently announced that in 2017, the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association‘s World Horseshoe Tournament will return to Utah. It will be held at the Dixie Convention Center in St. George July 17 through 30. Based on the number of family and friends who typically accompany the nearly 1,200 pitchers, the total visitor count for the event is estimated to approach 4,000 people. It’s anticipated that the tournament will infuse $3.5 million into the local economy from visitor spending at hotels, restaurants, and retail shops. The economic benefit is much greater than the typical sporting event as competitors and their travel companions will stay in the area for an average of seven days.
Some factors that helped St. George secure the hosting bid include the area’s unparalleled access to numerous state and national parks, golf courses, and walking trails. The city’s regional airport with service from Delta and United, prime location on Interstate 15, and close proximity to Las Vegas and its large international airport were also attractive selling points.
During the competition, the Dixie Convention Center will be transformed into a 48,000 square-foot, air-conditioned pitching arena with 50 horseshoe courts. Each court will be filled with blue clay, which requires precision throwing since it doesn’t allow the horseshoes to slide once they land.
The 2013 tournament in St. George marked the end of a nearly 50-year hiatus in the World Horseshoe Tournament’s presence in Utah. Mid-century, Northern Utah’s Murray City hosted the tournament 13 times: first in 1947, and then for 11 consecutive years from 1949 to 1959, and once more in 1966. After St. George first hosted the two-week tournament in 2013, participants’ positive feedback influenced the selection committee in choosing St. George over Monroe, La., as the host city for 2017.
Admission to the tournament is free, and the public is welcome and encouraged to watch and cheer on the pitchers. For more information about the World Horseshoe Tournament, please visit WorldHorseshoeTournament.com