Walter Ray at Playadminveteranwebdesign
Fans and “the curious” in Sebring Florida received an unsuspected surprise when they opened their newspapers Tuesday morning, March 13, 2001 and read “Renowned horseshoe pitcher coming” to compete at Lee Palmer Complex. The event, sponsored by the Highlands County Horseshoe Club was sanctioned by the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association, and sponsored by The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tee Shirt Company.
The spectators began to gather around the fence shortly before 1pm when Walter Ray was scheduled to begin the competition.
Bowling fans having seen him on television were delighted to see him in person. Most of them had never seen a horseshoe competition, and some were stunned when he overheard their discussions and answered their questions personally.
Kendra Gaines, a member of the Ladies Professional Bowlers Tour, was among the visitors. While on a “bye” game during the round robin competition, Walter Ray invited her to give it a try. He explained the grip and release, then handed her the horseshoe.
She took aim and let it fly. As the shoe spun through the air, Walter Ray was quick to comment “You don’t need to ‘rev it up’ quite that much.” Her next attempt was a perfectly pitched 1-1/4 turn.. “Now I just have to hit that pole,” she said with a competitive gleam in her eye.
Walter Ray won the handicapped tournament with 5-wins 1-loss. He made 185 ringers out of 240 attempts, for 77%. See complete scores below. He had 3 games in which he made 33 ringers out of 40 attempts. “I never thought in my wildest dreams that anybody could do that!” exclaimed one lady spectator. “No wonder he’s a great bowler,” said another.