July 21 and 22 at the Sonoma County Fair marks the days when “ringers” are acceptable and not disgraceful. At this time the word refers not to a substitute, cheat or swindler, but rather to the scoring rules of the old, old game of horseshoes.
Each day is scheduled for championship horseshoe pitching tournaments. The championship for the Sonoma County title will be held on Saturday and the Fair’s Open Northern California Horseshoe Pitchers Association championship will be determined on Sunday.
The latter day will be dedicated to Mel Ristau who won the 1972 Saturday championship. Ristau died suddenly last summer of a heart attack.
Last year’s Sunday winner was Ralph Randall, the four times state champion of Oklahoma, who battled Mel Ristau of Santa Rosa through two playoffs before defeating him by one point to win the Sonoma County Fair horseshoe pitching championship. Randall lives in Barstow. Fred Lavett of Monterey won last year’s B Group.
The Fair’s tournaments are run for the Fair by the Sonoma County Horseshoe Club. Bud Bailey is president and Lucy Hanlon is secretary-treasurer. Tournament director will be Bill Fulwider, Sonoma County Auditor-Controller, assisted by fellow club members.
Signed up so far for the action are Arnie Peters, George Chickenoff, George Greeott and Ray Nelson. Top pitchers are expected to come from many California areas. Anyone interested in any special information about the tournaments should get in touch with Bill Fulwider. Final plans are being laid for the Fifth Annual Pioneer Day which will be held in Sonoma this year on July 21, 1973.
The event which traditionally honors the pioneers who settled the West and particularly this part of California is sponsored each year by the Sonoma Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
The colorful four division parade will step off at 11 a.m. Trophies and ribbons will be awarded to the outstanding participants. Any group or individual may enter. A new trophy is being added this year for the best family sponsored entry. For entry forms contact the Sonoma Valley Chamber of Commerce or call 707-996-8856.
Other features of the Pioneer Day Festivities will be an old fashioned chicken barbeque and the replica pioneer village where special shops will again be featuring home-baked goods and many handicraft items. The covered wagon game booths will be open for the children and entertainment and old time contests will continue throughout the afternoon.