Horseshoe Pitching Style of Curt Day
curt day These observations were made by Kenny Wolf (editor of this website).  I pitched in the localCurt Day's reverse 3/4 turn club of the Frankfort Horseshoe Courts with Curt Day back in 1976 thru 1977.  I attended the 1975 Indiana State Tournament held in Frankfort and I attended all 5 days of the 1975 World Horseshoe Championship Tournament held in Lafayette, Indiana.  Unfortunately, I only caught the tail end of Curt's great pitching career.  Curt Day threw the 3/4 reverse turn using Ted Allen horseshoes.  (See the picture to the right to view the progression of the 3/4 reverse turn.)  The 3/4 reverse turn is the turn pitched by Alan Francis (Defiance, OH - 2004 World Champion and 10 times World Champion).

Curt Day pitched what is called "cross-fire" or for a right-handed pitcher, he stood to the right of the stake.  Before addressing the stake, Curt would swing the shoe a few times by his side, apparently to relax his muscles and get the feel of the shoe.  Curt held the horseshoe slightly cocked almost 45 degrees with the open end toward the stake (pictured above), top blade touching the bill of his cap or very close and lining up the center of the shoe with a point a few inches up from the bottom of the stake (Curt is quoted in Ottie W. Reno's book "Pitching Championship Horseshoes").  He would place his left foot beside his right foot and about one full step in front of his right foot and stand up straight with his weight on his right foot.  (At one time he was quoted in Reno's book as having both his feet side by side and taking a long step.)  All of these addressing the stake motions were slow, deliberate and methodical.

His backswing was straight back about shoulder or neck level with the shoe still about 45 degrees cocked at his side on the way back and horizontal at the end of the backswing and horizontal back by his side on the forward swing.  He would take a modest step with his left foot, bend his body while swinging his right hand up and finishing just over the center of his head.  After the release of the shoe, his follow through would vary slightly.  The trajectory of the shoe had the open end points down about 45 degrees at the peak of the trajectory during flight and the closed end dropping and catching up with the points for a 3 point landing on the stake like a 747 airplane making a 3 point landing.

Curt Day's delivery

All of the above observations by me are obviously subjective from my perspective, but this is the best description I can make of the pitching style of Curt Day.  I have heard that when a shoe was off target, he immediately made an adjustment on the next pitch to correct his delivery, as I'm sure most good pitchers are able to do.  Although I served as secretary of the local club for one summer year (1976?), I did not know Curt Day personally off the courts.  (It happens that one of Curt's grandsons, Pat Day, became a close friend of my oldest son Nick Wolf.)  When Curt did talk to someone, he was very soft spoken and kindly.  With a good sense of humor off the court, Curt Day was very serious and all business on the court with the perfect etiquette of a gentlemen.  Curt recently gave advice to a fellow horseshoe pitcher and said to improve his game, the best suggestion he could make is that the pitcher enter more tournaments and go head to head with others.  Practice is good, but competition is the test of what has been practiced and helps the pitcher focus under pressure.  Another person told me that Curt Day once said that growth of the sport begins at each local horseshoe pitching club.

There will never be another Curt Day, but then each of us are unique in our own ways.  Curt accomplished a lot in the sport that he loved and played whenever he could.  With a few more breaks, he could have won a few more world titles, but in his twenty-plus years of World class competitive horseshoe pitching, he established himself as a very tough opponent to beat with nerves of steel.  Curt Day Horseshoe Courts in Frankfort, Indiana will hopefully see some more strong years with active pitchers and maybe, someday, another Indiana State Champion, . . . or possibly another World Champion?  We have the legacy of Curt Day to inspire us!  And we know we have some horseshoe pitchers that fate placed in Clinton County who may soon answer the call.
curt Day 83 years old Frankfort Times Photo / Marla Miller
Curt Day in local Frankfort Times newspaper July 22, 2000
83 years old in the year 2000
"Alignment is the toughest thing to have and keep", Curt Day said.  Curt added that "the hardest thing is to not get discouraged" and that "the key is having the confidence that you can do it. 
Curt Day interview on
how to pitch horseshoes
interviewed by his son Paul Day
Curt Day
including Curt Day's Win-Loss Record
against each of his opponents in the
World Championship Tournaments

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