The National Horseshoe Pitcher’s Association offers a sanctioned league and awards program which is set up to track and recognize top preforming youth across the NHPA, as well as provide recognition for youth within the leagues. You may want to have the NHPA sanction your youth league, especially if a NHPA club is assisting with the league or one is in your area. The NHPA tracks the top-10 preforming youth in several categories and certificates are awarded to those who end the year in the top-10. They will provide your league with patches that recognize each participant as a Junior League member. In addition patches are awarded for High Games, Most Improved, Rookie of the Year, Sportsmanship, League Champion, High Average, and High Over Average. Finally, they offer a youth scholarship competition for those who have participated in a NHPA sanctioned league, which may interest some of your teenage participants.
Participation with the NHPA’s program is generally encouraged as it provides additional ways of recognizing the youth for their horseshoe pitching accomplishment. Youth thrive on recognition. If you decide that your youth league could benefit by participating in the NHPA sanctioned league program, the youth will need to become members of your state’s charter of the NHPA, which has a fee that is usually under $10 per person. This fee will also give the youth in your league the ability to enter any NHPA tournament for the remainder of the calendar year and could be coved as part of registration or from sponsors (find your state’s NHPA charter information). Additionally, to qualify as a sanctioned league your league participants will need to have pitched a minimum of 400 horseshoes in league play. Horseshoe America is set up to accommodate that number of shoes.
A couple caveats to keep in mind: 1) If your horseshoe court facility is not up to the specifications set forth by the NHPA, and sanctioned by them, then you will not be able to have your league sanctioned by them. 2) Long games are a problem. The NHPA league program is based on participants pitching games that are 40 or 50 shoes long. Although these length of games are very common in adult horseshoe leagues and tournamnets, they have been shown to be generaly detrimental to getting then keeping youth in leagues, especially for beginners and pre-teens. As 20 shoe games are a key component of the Horseshoe America program, deep consideration of the pros and cons of using the NHPA sanctioned League program should be given as you set up your youth league.