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

MacKenzie Appearing on National Curling Stage for Second Time this Season

There was only one team that stood in the way of Team Bakos from winning gold at the U18 Optimist Provincial Championship and they may well meet them again at the nationals. With Sherwood Park…

Chaos Must Fend Off the Wolves This Weekend

The Cochrane Chaos have the Edmonton Wolves snapping at their heels in the Alberta Junior Female Hockey League (AJFHL) provincial championship as the series heads to Edmonton this weekend. The Wolves…

St. Patty's Day Pot of Gold Medals for U15 Chaos

St. Patrick's Day 2019 will be one for the memory books for members of the GU15 Cochrane Chaos when they came home with a Pot of Gold Medals. The U15 Cochrane Chaos are provincial champions after…

Cochrane Ballers Preparing for Airdrie Pinoy Tournament

The Cochrane Ballers are returning to Airdrie Filipino Basketball League (AFBL) action this season. Mike Bautista, of the Ballers, says the team is now preparing for a month-long tournament in May…

VIDEO: Sensei Shaun Johnson is Sports Star of the Month

“Shaun is an incredible karate master.” “He’s firm and encourages the kids to do their best but also has fun and gets the kids giggling.” “He is so patient and kind with the children. It’s a pleasure…

Trinity Taekwon-Do Offers Students a Unique 'In-House' Competition

On March 9th, Cochrane's Trinity Taekwon-Do held a local tournament in Bearspaw offering students a spin on an in-house competition. Cameron Macdonald, Founder/Instructor of Trinity Taekwon-Do shares…

Copperheads End Season for Gens in Game 5

The Coaldale Copperheads are the south division champions of the Heritage Junior Hockey League (HJHL) ending the Cochrane Generals attempt to surge back into contention. Tied 1-1 after the first, the…

Exciting Varsity Girls Season Ends with Cochrane Matchup

Many successes have marked the varsity girls basketball season for both the Cochrane High Cobras and Bow Valley Bobcats and, in a sense, it almost seemed appropriate for them to close out their…

Bantam Curlers Get Taste of Formalities of Championship Curling

Up and coming curlers enjoyed a traditional opening ceremony with a number of special guests, including elite women's curler Chelsea Carey, at the Curlers Corner Bantam Championship hosted in…

Gens Coach Salutes Fans, Eyeballs the Future

The 2018-19 season may be behind the Cochrane Generals but it won't be long before the gears start to turn to build a team for the next Heritage Junior Hockey League season (HJHL). Cochrane Generals…

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

Search the Biz Guide

Login