An American summer picnic classic will be joining the lineup at this fall’s eighth annual Brownwood Reunion Celebration. New this year will be a horseshoe pitching competition, something that the event chair knows a lot about.

Lisa Majors is a member of the Texas Horseshoe Pitching Association and has been participating in sanctioned events for the past 15 years. And she’s excited about organizing a Brownwood event.

“What drew me in was the fact that the entire family can participate, and spend the afternoon together,” she said. “It was something the kids could participate in. It’s (horseshoes) appealing to a lot of people. All you need is a stake and shoes to pitch.”

According to Randee Green, the Reunion’s executive director, the horseshoe pitching competition will take place on Saturday, Sept. 20 and will feature three divisions: Men, Women and Juniors (17 and under). Prizes will be awarded to the top-10 finishers.

Majors said she hopes that the Reunion tournament will be a springboard for organizing a group here, particularly as traveling to sanctioned tournaments is growing more expensive. To compete in state tournaments, Majors said competitors have to participate in at least four sanctioned tournaments each year.

“That would allow us to host state tournaments, which typically attract 200 or so pitchers,” she said. Most clubs also hold two or three sanctioned tournaments, as well as other events during the year.

“The tournaments are sanctioned by the state Texas Horseshoe Pitchers Association. There are specific rules and guidelines about the construction of the court, weight of the shoes, that type of thing,” Majors said.

Although the Reunion tournament will not be sanctioned, Majors said she’s organizing it along THPA guidelines.

And even beginners still have time to get ready for the event.

“We think this is going to be a great family event, something that people young and old can begin practicing now,” Green said.

Getting started on tournament preparations is as easy as driving a stake and tossing the shoe, Majors said.

“You can put a stake in the ground, stand back the appropriate distance and start throwing,” she said.

Men toss from a distance of 40 feet, while women and juniors toss 30 feet. The scoring for the tournament will be based on three points for a ringer, one point for the closest to the stake, with the first competitor to 21 points declared the winner.

Majors suggests that anyone interested in taking up horseshoes first work on pitching the correct distance, and then on getting the horseshoe onto the stake.

“That’s the hard part,” she joked.

Majors learned the game from Coke Bowker of Arlington, who was a world champion tosser.

“He was a real mentor to me. He was one of the best,” she said.

Majors said she was hoping for a field of 40-42 tossers.

Pre-registration is $15 and $20 on the day of event. Registration forms are available on-line at www.BrownwoodTX.com. All registered participants will receive a T-shirt and will need to provide their own horseshoes. A mandatory player meeting will be held at 9:30 a.m. on Sept. 20.

For more information about the horseshoe pitching tournament, or the eighth annual Brownwood Reunion Celebration in general, visit www.BrownwoodTX.com. This year’s Reunion Celebration will run from Sept. 19-21, 2008.