The clang of a ringer is about to become a thing of the past for the Cochrane Horseshoe Club. 

Last weekend, the Cochrane Horseshoe Club hosted its last sanctioned tournament and after over 30 years are calling it quits.

Henry Veldhuis, one of the founding members, says they simply haven't got enough players to continue. Many of the club's mainstays are getting too old, he says, including himself.

"Now we're at the point where we don't have the membership to keep it going," says Veldhuis "We have no organized league. Up until last year we had a proper league and kept records. That all finished last year."Don Courville, 90, is a long-time member and has won several horseshoe competitions over the years.

The size of the membership has varied over the years and reached 30 at one point but has recently dropped off drastically.

"The last few years we've been dwindling down. Last year we had five paid members, but only three players," he says. "We're all just getting too old for this."

Veldhuis has been active locally as well as with the Alberta Horseshoe Pitchers Association (AHPA). He's been Alberta president twice and kept the provincial stats for 10 years.  He's sad to see it go but efforts to recruit new members haven't been successful.

"I've been involved all along, but now I'm retired. I'm 82, I can't play anymore, I haven't played for two years."

Neither can his wife Yvonne.

The couple's daughter Jane Cordingley, of Airdrie, though, remains one of Alberta's best horseshoe pitchers. On July 1 she reclaimed her women's championship title and came third in the mixed 'A' class.  A shoulder injury kept her out of the competition last season, preventing her from bidding for her tenth straight title. In all, she has 13 Alberta championships and two Canadian championships, where she's also been runner-up multiple times.

In late August, Cordingley is off to the nationals being hosted by Whitewood, SK.

While he's enjoyed being involved with the club, Walter Wiggins, 83, says its time to call it a day. He's volunteered to maintain the pitches for about the last 15 years.

Still, the 16 people in last weekend's final tournament had a blast and many have been coming here for years. One player regularly travels from High Prairie while the majority are from Cochrane, Calgary and Olds.

Veldhuis founded the club with Arnie Hansen in 1987. With the Cochrane Lions, Cochrane Legion and town contributing $500 each, plus a little extra help from Public Works, they built eight pitches that remain in great shape to this day on the west side of the Lions Rodeo Park.

Veldhuis enjoys telling how Cochrane Mayor Lydia Graham gave them a shed they could borrow for storage and a concession. Veldhuis recalls how she said the town wasn't giving it to them and they may need it back some day. They never did and it remains there to this day.

More Sports News

VIDEO: How Long Can the Cobras Sustain Winning Streak?

There was little doubt the Cochrane Cobras team would set a new consecutive win record for high school football under Friday night lights in Chestermere, Sept. 21. Now the question is how much longer…

Aidan McKeage Representing Canada at U23 Worlds

Golden Bears wrestler Aidan McKeage, 21, will be substituting the green and gold for the red and white as a member of Team Canada in the U23 World wrestling championships in Romania, Nov. 11-17.…

It's a Wrap for Cochrane BMXers

Cochrane BMX riders are winding up the 2018 season this Saturday (September 22) with a year-end party featuring open track time, a potluck supper, group photo shot and awards. It's been another…

Gens Fine-tuning Roster in Preparation for Season Opener

Preseason games are just a walkthrough, a chance to streamline the roster, right? Think again. When the Cochrane Generals and Airdrie Techmation Thunder squared off last night, Sept. 15, at the…

Cobras On Verge of Setting High School Football Record

It’s unusual for a tier 3 match-up to be named “Game of the Week” by Football Alberta, but the upcoming game between the Cochrane Cobras and Chestermere Cowboys is destined to be a historical night.…

Base-ic Players Turned Out Not So Basic

Bragging rights were well earned by an eclectic group of ballplayers. The mixed slow pitch team "Base-ic Pitches' is the prime example of why getting back into sport as an adult can be a great thing.…

Full Day of Men's Rugby This Saturday Caps Off Regular Season

Grab your lawn chairs and enjoy. With playoffs on the horizon, this is likely the season's last Super Saturday of men's rugby at the Mitford Park pitch. A tripleheader on Sept. 8 sees all three men's…

Some Tough Choices Will Have to be Made During Pre-season Camp

It's practice number two tonight in the Cochrane Generals Jr. 'B' team's preseason selection camp. With 35 prospects lacing up, the coaching staff will be facing some tough choices. Head coach Travis…

Cobras Close in on Record; Bobcats Show Promise

The #1 ranked Cochrane Cobras remain on track to set a new record for consecutive wins by an Alberta high school football while the Bow Valley Bobcats showed signs of promise. Both teams entered the…

Players Aim to Impress to Earn Spots on Gens' Roster

It's difficult to put too much weight into two pre-season wins, but one thing is for certain; many newcomers are keen to make the lineup for the Cochrane Generals Jr. 'B' team. The weekend saw the…

CochraneNow.com is Cochrane's only source for community news and information such as weather and classifieds.

Search the Biz Guide

Login