- More Articles
- Game Play
- How to Play Horseshoes
- What is the Game of Horseshoes?
- The History of Horseshoes
- Horseshoes Equipment
- Horseshoes Set Up
- Horseshoes Rules
- How to Play Horseshoes: Making the Most Out of the Game
- How To Play Horseshoes? (Beginners Guide)
- Horseshoe pitching
With only two metal stakes and four horseshoes, you can play a game of horseshoes with your friends and family or even participate in an official tournament. In this game, the object is to throw your horseshoes closest to a metal stake. The National Horseshoe Pitchers Association provides rules and regulations on the correct distance for playing horseshoes.
Jonathan Vaca/Demand Media
The entire horseshoe court should measure 50 feet in length. The 14-inch metal stakes you pitch the shoes at are 40 feet apart from each other. The National Horseshoe Pitchers Association states that men throw from no closer than 37 feet, while in women’s tournaments, the competitors pitch from 27 feet. Those under age 18 also throw from 27 feet away.
Jonathan Vaca/Demand Media
Each player gets two horseshoes. The first player pitches both shoes, one at a time, and then the other player pitchers her two horseshoes. After all four horseshoes have been thrown, you have completed one inning. Walk to the stake and score the shoes for that inning. The pitching order switches after every inning. You can play horseshoes until you reach a certain number of points, or complete a predetermined number of pitches. The Sports Know How website explains that regulation games are played to 50 points while informal games are usually played to 21 points.
Jonathan Vaca/Demand Media
Your score in horseshoes depends both on your pitch, and your opponent’s. Throw a ringer, where the horseshoe circles the stake, and you score three points. However, ringers from opposing players cancel out, so if you opponent also scores a ringer, then neither of you receives points for those throws. If there is no ringer from either player, one point is awarded to the horseshoe closest to the stake. If you throw the only ringer in the inning and also have your other shoe closer to the stake than either of your opponents, you receive three points for the ringer and one point for the closest horseshoe.
How to Play Horseshoes
At the end of each inning the number of shoes is tallied.
The first task in scoring is counting up the live and dead shoes. Live shoes are shoes that landed within playable boundaries. Dead shoes are those that landed outside the pit area or somehow otherwise break a rule of the game, as well as — and this will make sense in a minute — shoes that are dead ringers.
There are two ways to score a game of horseshoes: counting points (called the count-all method) and the cancellation scoring method. Let’s talk about how to score with count-all rules first.
In count-all scoring, each player has the chance to score a maximum of six points per inning. Live shoes will either be ringers, leaners or close to the stake. Ringers are horseshoes that land around the stake; ringers net you three points, the most points awarded in the game. Leaners are horseshoes that have landed vertically and are leaning against the stake rather than encircling it. Leaners are worth one point. Any horseshoe that lands within 6 inches (15.2 centimeters) of the stake is considered close to the stake and also counts as one point. If both your live shoes land closer to the stake than those of your opponent, you earn two additional points that inning (including if one of those shoes is a ringer). Some play a variation of this scoring method, where only ringers are awarded points. No points are awarded for dead shoes.
These aren’t the only rules of the game, though — there are also cancellation rules. Under cancellation rules you score points the same as in count-all but with a twist. In addition to earning points each inning for the live shoes you throw, you also have the chance to cancel out the points your opponent scores. How? Pitch the same game. For example, say your opponent throws a ringer, which should count as three points. If you, too, throw a ringer in your following turn during the same inning no points are awarded — you cancel out each other’s’ points; this is called a dead ringer. The same cancellation throw rules apply to leaners and shoes close to the stake, as well. No points are awarded for dead ringers or any other tied shots.
Author’s Note: How to Play Horseshoes
Prior to researching and writing this article, I’d never pitched a horseshoe in my life. But now, who’s up for a game?
So you wanna pitch ‘shoes in your backyard with your kids or neighbor without constructing a professionally designed regulation court… Well, it is easy as planting two stakes in level ground. Measure off 40 feet and drive two 36 inch x 1 inch smooth iron rod into the ground at an angle of about 12 degrees from vertical until 14 inches remains above ground so each leans toward the opposite stake. Use a shovel to loosen the top 2 to 4 inches of soil (any deeper and the stake may not have good anchorage). A steel plate welded across the part of stake driven into the ground would help anchor the stake. Place foul lines at 27 and 37 ft from each stake…the 27 ft foul line is to be used by children up thru 18 yrs of age, women and elder men (70 yrs of age or more) and the 37 ft foul line is to be used by all other adult men. There you go….start pitching shoes.
Pretty soon you will find the stakes tend to loosen and ringers bounce off stakes when they are vertical or leaning backwards, and you find the loose soil has been knocked away by the pitched shoes. That calls for a little more work…like burying a wood log below the loose soil about 6 or 8 inches and drilling a hole at the correct angle in which to drive the stake, thus anchoring the stake better. And, maybe you decide to build a wood backboard to retain the loose soil, making it easier to kick it back around the stake.
Play with those improvements for a while…and you find the loose soil does not ‘hold’ the shoes very well. Another improvement might be to use moist sand or better yet to use moist blue clay…this will tend to hold pitched shoes where they land. Things are working pretty good now…but the pitching area is wearing rough and you want to have a hard, reasonably smooth walking surface on which to stand and pitch. Pouring narrow concrete pitching platforms is easy enuf to do, and that more or less tops off your improvements that make pitching fun.
Congratulations on your hard work. Your courts have evolved pretty much the same as they have for most everyone else. NHPA Official Playing Rules evolved the same way, thru experience…from recreational to professional design installations. Read the NHPA Rules and the court construction articles on this website before you start construction…and make your ‘evolution’ in one step. It is a great game whether you wanna pitch in your backyard or at the City Park. It can be played by one or as many people as the number of courts can handle. It is played for practice, for league play and for tournament play. Check this website for the name, address and phone number of the NHPA Regional Director in your area and find out more about horseshoe pitching activities available to you. Check out the pictures and sources for professional horseshoes too….
A sample backyard pit layout.
Anchor stake in buried log or bucket
of concrete. See Court Constr.
article for more details.
BASIC “Backyard” RULES
The required court layout for a game is two stakes fastened securely in the ground 40 feet apart. The stakes should be of iron or soft steel one inch in diameter protruding 15 inches from the ground, each leaning approximately 3 inches (12-deg. from vertical) toward the opposite stake.
Each stake is placed in the center of a “pit” measuring between 43 and 72 inches long and measuring between 31 and 36 inches wide. Moist blue clay works best as a cushion substance in the pit but other types of moist clay as well as loose dirt and sand are acceptable. On both sides of the pits are long, narrow (approx 6′ long and 18″ wide)”pitchers platforms” from which contestants are to pitch their shoes. When platforms are extended an additional 10 ft they can accomodate short distance pitchers and when extended full length on both sides of the court they provide walkways for the contestants.
The object of the game is to pitch the horseshoe so that it comes to rest encircling the stake; failing in that, it comes to rest within six inches of the stake.
“Horseshoes” manufactured for pitching (real horseshoes are not readily available or uniform in size and weight) are to be used, each weighing approximately 2-1/2 pounds and having an opening no greater than 3-1/2″. Each contestant pitches two shoes in succession.
When a contestant is pitching, the opponent shall quietly stand to the rear of or behind the other platform.
A contestant cannot start to walk to the opposite end until both players have pitched both shoes.
A shoe making contact outside the pit before it comes to rest does not count in the scoring and if it lies within scoring distance of the stake it may be removed before the next pitch by either contestant.
Foul lines shall be marked at 27 feet and 37 feet from the opposite stake across the pitching platforms. Shoes pitched by adult males must be released from the platform behind the 37 foot foul line. Shoes pitched by “elder” men, age 70 or more, may optionally be pitched from platforms behind either the 37 foot or 27 foot foul line (provided that they remain at one pitching distance and not switch back and forth) and provided that as 27 foot pitchers, they cannot pitch from behind the 37 foot foul line. Women and all youths up thru 18 years of age may pitch from any platform at any distance from behind the 27 foot foul lines. Men with physical handicap may also observe the 27 foot foul line rule.
Multiple court installations should have safety barriers or buffers to protect contestants on adjacent courts and spectators.
Scoring Rules – There are two methods of scoring: (1) Cancellation system, and (2) count-all system.
Cancellation System – Closest shoe to the stake within 6 inches scores 1 point, two shoes closer than opponent’s scores 2 points, one ringer and closest shoe of the same player scores 4 points, each uncancelled ringer scores 3 points. All equal ringers count as ties (no score). All ringers count towards total ringer percentages. A leaning shoe has no value over one lying flat touching the stake. The player that scores or ties a score receives first pitch. Most cancellation games are played to 40 points. Other point limits are acceptable if agreed upon beforehand. It is also legal to play to a pre-set shoe limit, with 40 or 50 shoes being the most popular. Ringer averages are a measure of skill and are used for “seeding” contestants in tournament play. Ringer averages are calculated by dividing total ringers pitched by total shoes pitched and multiplying the result by 100. (i.e. 25 R div by 50 S = .500 x 100 = 50.00%)
Count-All Scoring – Contestants shall receive credit for all points. The maximum is 2 ringers (6 points) and the minimum is both shoes beyond 6 inches from the stake (0 points). Count-all games are pitched to a preset shoe limit – 20, 40 or 50 shoes are popular choices.
Three Handed Game
No longer shown in NHPA Playing rules, the three handed game is still popular as a backyard activity. In three handed games,when two of the players each have a ringer and a third player no ringer, the party without a ringer is out of the scoring and other scores according to conditions pertaining if only two were in the game. Otherwise, regular cancelation rules apply.
Here’s our complete overview of how to play horseshoes, a classic backyard game that never goes out of style.
Way before we had cornhole, there was a game known as horseshoe pitching.
We know it as horseshoes, a yard game that has been enjoyed for centuries and is ideal for casual family gatherings and serious competition.
It’s easy to set up, learn, and play with people of all ages.
So, how do you get started?
Between figuring out the correct specs for setting up the horseshoe pit, learning the rules, and knowing what equipment you need to buy, it can seem like a lot to learn.
The following guide is going to cover all of that information and more to ensure that you and your family or friends are ready for some fun-filled horseshoe games.
First, let’s talk about what the game actually entails before getting into the specifics.
What is the Game of Horseshoes?
Simply put, horseshoes is an outdoor game that is played either between two individuals or teams of two people. The players or teams toss four horseshoes towards a stake in the ground to score points.
The players alternate turns and attempts to either throw a “ringer” circling around the stake or get it as close as possible to score.
While you may be picturing the game being played with actual horseshoes used on animals, a modern game will typically use a stylized U-shaped bar that is around twice the size of the average horseshoe.
You may be wondering how the game began and how it has progressed throughout history. So, before we get into the specifics on how to play horseshoes, here’s some background information on the wonderful game of horseshoes.
Looking for a new version of this classic game? Check out our guide to Polish Horseshoes (aka Beersbee).
The History of Horseshoes
The game’s history started quite a long time ago.
Horseshoes is said to have its origins in quoits, which is a game that involved throwing a rubber or metal ring over a set distance to circle a pin.
It also may have evolved from the Greek game discus throwing, which was actually played in the Olympic Games.
Since plates and rings for horseshoes have been around as early as the second century B.C, historians believe that followers of the Grecian armies began playing the game with stakes and discarded shoes.
Horseshoes were fairly plentiful after this point in history, so the game seemed to pick up popularity among soldiers in many different wars.
Much later, in the year 1869, England created rules to go with the game of horseshoes.
At the time, the ground around the stake was clay, the distance between the stakes had to be 19 yards, and the players stood level with the stake to make their pitches.
Even with the addition of these rules, records and tournaments did not start for horseshoes until 1909.
The very first tournament was in Bronson, Kansas in 1910, and in 1911 new rules were implemented. The stake height was raised up to six inches and games were played to 21 points.
In 1914 the first organization came together to discuss the game; they were called the Grand League of the American Horseshoe Pitchers Association.
Through this organization, local leagues were started in many states and their rules were made standard across the world.
Over the last century, the rules have changed slightly.
The last official change, which consisted of making the game last for 40 points, was made on the first of January in 1982.
Now that you know the origins of horseshoes, let’s talk about the equipment you will need to start playing.
Before you begin setting up an area to play horseshoes, which will be discussed shortly, you should have a few different items.
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You will, of course, need a set of four horseshoes, as well as two stakes.
Depending on how much you want to spend, there are many horseshoe game set varieties online of different styles, colors, and prices to choose from.
With a high-quality set of horseshoes, you’re generally looking for drop forged steel horseshoes that are powder coated with a non-slip grip.
The grip should be comfortable, durable and corrosion resistant. Some sets will have a color coating, while others will have a powder coating that retains the look of the metal.
Regulation horseshoes each weight 2 to 2.5 lbs and should have an opening no wider than 3.5 inches.
These things take a beating, so find a quality set that will hold up over the years.
Most horseshoe sets also come with a carrying case include two 24” stakes and (sometimes) a copy of the official rules.
The items can also be purchased separately as well if you don’t want to buy a set for the game.
Learn more about how to choose the best set of horseshoes.
Horseshoes Set Up
Once you have the necessary equipment, you will want to set up the game properly in your backyard.
While you are able to simply stick the stakes directly into level ground, having horseshoe pits is a popular option and is recommended for safety as well as a better game.
A horseshoe pit consists of creating a rectangular area of sand, dirt, or clay for each of the stakes to stand upright in.
The stakes need to be exactly 40-feet apart, per the rules, so you will need a lengthy space to set each pit up.
It’s recommended that you set aside a portion of your yard that is 6-feet wide and 48-feet long.
The space you use for the game is known as a pitch, and each rectangular area with a stake is known as a pitching box.
Inside the pitching box is the sand and stake, which is referred to as the pit.
The pitching box should be about 6-by-6 feet, with a pit in the center that is between 43-72-inches long and 31-36-inches wide. It should be about 8-inches deep.
The pitching box should have a border of wood planks to ensure that the sand or other grainy substance in the middle doesn’t spread across your lawn, and so it keeps its shape.
When you are ready to insert the stake into the sand, make sure it is angled forward by around 3-inches, and that it only protrudes between 14-15-inches from the top of the pit.
After the stake has been added to the area, make sure you fill the pit with the sand, clay, or dirt until it’s level with the wooden planks bordering the pitching box.
Why is Building a Designated Area to Play Important?
Again, if you are not interested in building your own horseshoe pits, you can always simply stick your stakes directly into your lawn.
However, keep in mind that the stakes will be less visible, making them easier to trip on, injure yourself with, or even hit with your mower.
It is especially risky to leave these metal stakes in the ground if you have small children around, as they are more susceptible to injury.
On top of the designated playing area being safer, it also makes the game significantly more enjoyable.
For example, having pits to catch the horseshoes if the stake is missed makes it easier to measure how close it is, and it makes it easier to aim as well.
So, what are the rules of horseshoes?
How to Play Horseshoes: The Basic Rules
Learning the basics of how to play horseshoes is simple. As we discussed before, the object of the game is to toss the horseshoe so that it falls encircling the stake.
If it doesn’t land around it, ideally it would then land within 6-inches of it.
Here are some of the other basic rules you will need to know before playing.
- When someone is pitching, the opponent(s) need to stand quietly behind the other platform. Shouting or taunting the players is not permitted, and neither is attempting to block the toss.
- No one can start walking towards the opposite end of the playing area until the player(s) have pitched both shoes for their current turn. Failing to do this could result in injury.
- Foul lines need to be marked at both 27 and 37-feet from the opposite stake. The official rules of the game state that shoes pitched by adult men should be released from the platform behind the 37-foot line unless they are 70 or older. In that case, they can toss from the 27-foot line if they would like to. Women, children, and anyone with a physical handicap should also use the 27-foot line.
- If you have multiple playing areas for horseshoes, it should have a barrier to ensure that no one gets injured. For example, if you have two sets of pits next to each other, they should have something between them.
Now let’s discuss how scoring works within the horseshoes rules.
For scoring, there are many aspects to consider, which can make the game slightly confusing at first.
Just make sure to keep the rules on hand until you become a more skilled player.
Here’s what you should know about keeping score during a game of horseshoes.
- A ringer, which is when a player encircles the stake with a horseshoe, is worth 3 points. In order for the toss to qualify as a ringer, a straight edge needs to be able to touch both points of the shoe.
- If no one scores a ringer during a round, then the closest shoe to the stake receives one point. A horseshoe leaning against the stake or those touching it is included in this rule as well. The shoes need to be within 6-inches of the stake to qualify.
- Two points are awarded to the person who threw both shoes closer to the stake than the opponents.
- If someone both scores a ringer and has the closest horseshoe with his remaining turn, that person receives points for both.
- A leaner, or a horseshoe that has landed vertically against a stake, counts for one point.
- Horseshoes that have landed outside of the 6-inch space around the stake, or even outside of the pit altogether, are called dead shoes. These do not earn you any additional points.
- The game is played until a player or a team reaches 40 points.
With these rules, all points are counted. However, you can also play a game of horseshoes where the points of your opponent(s) can be canceled out.
Cancellation Scoring Rules
If you are interested in making the game a little more competitive, consider playing horseshoes with the cancellation scoring rules.
With the cancellation rules, you score points exactly as you would in the count-all rules we just discussed.
However, by pitching the same exact game as your opponent, you can cancel out their points.
For example, if the other player or team throws a ringer and scores 3 points, you can attempt to do the same and cancel out the points they would have earned if you succeed.
If this is successful, it is referred to as a “dead ringer.”
These rules also apply to shoes within 6-inches of the stake and leaners as well.
How to Play Horseshoes: Making the Most Out of the Game
Now armed with this information, you are ready to start playing the game of horseshoes.
The game is a great way to bring people together during a barbeque or other outdoor gathering, especially if you’re equipped with the items and knowledge you need.
Make sure to also take the safety information regarding the rules and set up to heart, as it’s vitally important to keep all of the players and surrounding adults and children safe in the process.
As you get started, what aspects of the setup and the game are the most exciting to you?
Are you planning to build your own custom set or buy one online?
How To Play Horseshoes? (Beginners Guide)
First, let’s be acquainted with the basic objectives and general rules of the game:
- Pitching: Both players stand by a pit in the pitching platform, and one player throws his two horseshoes at the opposite stake. Then the other player does the same. A player can throw standing on either the left or the right side of the pit. The players must pitch from behind the foul line. A toss decides which player would pitch first.
- Inning: It is a turn-based game. When both players have taken their turns and pitched the four horseshoes at the opposite stake, it is called an inning. The game is divided into several innings.
- Points of the shoes: There are two kinds of pitched shoes, a live shoe, and a dead shoe. Live shows are those which are pitched legitimately and fall inside the pit. These shoes give a score. Dead shoes are those which are thrown illegitimately, that is, not compliant with the rules. They are also called foul shoes, and such shoes do not give a score. Dead shoe can also refer to a ringer that is canceled by an opponent’s ringer (in a cancellation scoring game.)
- Scoring: “Ringers” and “points” are the two types of live shoes that give different scores. When a horseshoe completely encircles the stake, it is called a ringer. The ringer is the best shot in the game, and players aim for it. A ringer gives three (3) scores. Whereas a “point” is a live show that comes to fall six inches from the stake or closer. Each “point” gives out one (1) score.
There are two scoring methods. A cancellation system and accounts-all scoring system. In a Cancellation system, a player’s ringer can be canceled by the opponent’s ringer. A canceled ringer gives zero (0) score. In-count shoes give one score under the following conditions:
- If there are two canceled (dead) ringers and no live ringer, then the closest live show to the stake gives one (1) score.
- If there are no ringers, the closest shoe gives one score. If the second closest shoe also belongs to the same player as the closest one, it will also give one (1) score.
- If there is one live ringer and the other closest shoe also belongs to the scoring player, it will give a total of four (4) points.
- If the opponents’ shoes are touching the stake, or are equal distance from the stake, they shall cancel each other and score zero (0). In this case, the next closest shoe shall give one (1) score.
In the Count-all scoring system, every live show gives, whether a point or a ringer, gives a score, and both players accumulate points scored in each inning. Shoes do not cancel each other in this system. Winning: There are three options to decide how will the game end:
- Point limit: A specific number of points is decided, any player who achieves that score first is the winner. Traditionally, the score limit is set on 21 points, but during NHPA-recognized matches, 40-points is the suggested amount
- Shoe limit: The game is played to the specific number of pitched horseshoes. Usually, the number of shoes is set to forty or fifty. Any player that has more points when the shoe limit is reached, is the winner.
- Point or shoe limit: Both shoe limit and a point limit could be decided. The game ends whichever comes first. Either a player achieves the decided score first, or the specific number of shoes are pitched.
During casual backyard matches, you can set any limits to the points or to the shoes pitched, or both. The game should not take very long to end or it will become uninteresting, repetitive and boring. To keep players engaged and motivated, specific, reasonable winning criteria has to be set up beforehand.
Breaking the tie: Games without a clear winner often lose their charm, the competitiveness and thrill of the game. Luckily, breaking the tie in horseshoe-pitching is not difficult, and even adds some thrill, as breaking the tie heightens the competition between the players.
Ties are broken by additional innings, and the game shall continue until the initial tie is broken.
Although you could play horseshoes solo, the game is supposed to be played with two to four players, or in casual games with as many players as you choose; either player-versus-player or pair-versus-pair. Each player throws — called “pitching” in the game — a horseshoe, trying to catch the shoe on a stake in the ground, or at the least land the shoe within 6 inches (15.2 centimeters) of the stake. Although you could play with a real horseshoe, competitive horseshoe games are played with pitching shoes. These shoes look and feel like horseshoes but are stylized, and designed for peak game performance.
Games are made up of innings, and each player (or pair of players) pitches two horseshoes at a stake in the ground during each inning. There is no set number of innings; rather, the first player or pair to score 40 points wins the game.
Horseshoes is played on a court. The playable area of a regulation horseshoe court, called the pitcher’s box, is 46 feet (14 meters) long by 6 feet (1.8 meters) wide, plus two pitching platforms, each 6 feet (1.8 meters) square, and protective backboards. Two iron rods, each 36 inches (91.4 centimeters) long and 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) wide, are staked in the center of the pit, and centered between the two pitching platforms as well. Those stakes are what you hope to catch your horseshoes on. They’re driven into the ground at about a 12-degree angle, with about half of each rod above ground and the two rods leaning toward each other. Foul lines are drawn at 27 feet (8.2 meters) and at 37 feet (11.3 meters) from each stake — these lines determine the distance from which players pitch their horseshoes. General rules are that adult men pitch shoes from 37 feet (11.3 meters), and women, kids and senior citizens pitch from the 27-foot (8.2-meter) line; kids younger than 9 can pitch from a 20-foot (6.1-meter) distance. The top 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 centimeters) of soil or sand in your pit should be loose and level .
Backyard games are similar; they are usually played in dirt, sand or asphalt pits with enough space to get a good toss in, and with at least two players. But all you really need to get a game started is yourself, a horseshoe and a metal rod staked in level ground.
Horseshoe pitching, game for two or four players, most popular in the United States and Canada, in which players attempt to throw horseshoes so as to encircle a stake or to get them as close to the stake as possible. When two play, they pitch from a pitching box, 6 feet (1.8 m) square, in the centre of which is an iron or steel stake extending 14 inches (36 cm) from the surface and inclined 3 inches (8 cm) toward another stake 40 feet (12 m) away (30 feet for women and juniors). After both players have pitched two shoes each (an inning), they walk to the opposite box and pitch from it. When four play, each pair of partners pitches from opposite boxes. Regulation games are played to a winning score of 50, more informal games, to 21. After all shoes have been pitched in an inning, scoring is as follows: one point for each shoe closer than an opponent’s, if the shoe is six inches or closer to the stake, and three points for each ringer (shoe enclosing the stake). If shoes are equally distant or if opponents have the same number of ringers, these are considered ties and no points are scored. A leaning shoe has no more value than one touching the stake. Horseshoes designed for pitching (usually made of iron or steel) weigh 2.5 pounds (1 kg) and are 7.5 inches (19 cm) long, 7 inches wide at the greatest width, with a space 3.5 inches (9 cm) between the calks, as the small toes at each open end are called.
Horseshoe pitching may have derived from the game of quoits played by Roman officers during the Roman occupation of Britain (1st to 5th century). Their men, lacking quoits, presumably used horseshoes, though the existence of iron U-shaped horseshoes at that time remains undocumented. It is thought that peasants in medieval Britain also adapted horseshoes for use in improvised games of quoits. The sport was introduced into North America by English settlers in colonial times. The National Horseshoe Pitchers Association of America became the governing body of the sport in the United States in 1926 and holds national and world championship tournaments annually.
- Stakes are placed 40 feet apart.
- Stakes should extend 14 to 15 inches above the pit surface.
- Stakes may be inclined toward each other, but not more than a 3 inch lean.
- Stakes are solid or hollow steel 1 inch in diameter.
- Stakes should be a minimum of 21 inches from the front and back of the pit.
- Pits are constructed 31 to 36 inches wide and 43 to 72 inches deep. If the pit is less than the maximum dimensions, the extra space shall be filled with the same material of which the platforms are made and shall be level with the pit and platforms. the stake at the center.
- Pits are best filled with clay, which must be watered periodically to maintain its texture. Sand, sawdust, and loose soil are more commonly used. The purpose of the filler is to keep the shoes from bouncing excessively, so any material that accomplishes this can be used. Minimum depth of the substance is 4 inches but 8
inches is recommended.
- A foul line is marked 3 feet in front of each stake. Thus, the resulting throwing
distance (foul line to opposite stake) is 37 feet. For Female, Junior, and Elderly
contestants the foul line is 27 feet from the opposite stake.