EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- She’s used to winning, and winning a lot. Sarah Chaffee is one of the top-ranked junior horseshoe pitchers in the country, and at the end of the month, she’ll compete for a national title.
“I loved playing, but I wasn’t very good,” Sarah Chaffee said about her younger years pitching, but that’s no longer the case; she’s the real deal.
In the entire nation in juniors, she owns one of the highest percentage of ringers, where the horseshoe lands around the stake. For Sarah, pitching horseshoes started when she was young.
“I got into horseshoes because I used to watch my dad (Dean Chaffee),” Sarah said.
But since then, the mentee has overtaken the mentor.
“I’ve just beat him so many times. I beat him a couple times yesterday,” Sarah said with a smile. “It’s just so much more fun than anyone else. It’s way more fun to beat my dad.”
It’s friendly competition, I swear.
The sport itself isn’t a cakewalk either. For those sitting at home thinking this sport is super easy, it’s not. It takes a ton of practice and a ton of focus to be remotely good.
“It’s so hard because you have so many factors,” Sarah said. “You have to get the distance, you have to get the shoe open. It took so much practice to even get close.”
“It’s a game that takes a lot of practice,” Dean Chaffee, Sarah’s dad, said. “You can’t just get out there and toss them around and expect to be a good player. You have to make a commitment to practicing and making full effort at it to be a good player.”
The precision it takes to pitch horseshoes at a high level is beneficial for other sports.
“There’s a lot of focus in this sport, and I think it very much helps me in different sports,” Sarah said. “It helps me keep my focus throughout the game.”
The Eau Claire Horseshoe Club will be the location for the 2019 Wisconsin State Tournament coming up on Labor Day Weekend.
“There will be between 100-200 competitors that come to play,” Dean said. “The venue is great. We have lots of shade, we’re not affected by the wind much, we have a great clubhouse here are Carson Park; people look forward to coming here and pitch horseshoes.”