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 Sunday, August 27th, 2006  
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Photo by George Beshiri

World champion Earl Vanderhart is just one of the many who take part in the action at the Brampton Horseshoe Club every Tuesday evening at the Centennial Park facility.

Making their pitch
Brampton Horseshoe Club more than 100 members strong

SHAWN GIBSON

Summer is alive in the city of Brampton as the air is filled with those familiar warm weather sounds. Kids playing, dogs barking and people bustling the downtown area in search of a deal can be heard for blocks.

However, it's the sound of "CLANG" that has a few people in Brampton excited about the season.

The Brampton Men's Horseshoe Club is in full operation and has been every summer since 1978.

Retired Fire Chief Ken Condie is the BMHC's current president and oversees a group of more than 100 men.

"The club has been around since the late '70s and is now the largest in Ontario," Condie says proudly.

Located at Centennial Park on Mary Street, the horseshoe pits are used every Tuesday at 7 p.m. by the club, who maintain them regularly through hard work and fundraising events like 50/50 draws and pop sales, which are a big help to the group. Selflessly the club donated some of last yearsmoney to Katrina and tsunami funds. That kind of thoughtfulness is distinct throughout the BMHC.

"Last year when one of our members passed on," reminisces Condie, "we dedicated the season to him while his family opened it up by throwing out the first horseshoes of the year. You get real close to one another, like a family."

The club originally got together with the goal of exposing the game to the people of Brampton as a fun, affordable way to spend a few evenings during the summer. One of the men who started it all was 85-year-old Elwood Pembleton, who was part of a group that, previous to 1978, would travel west to play the men of Georgetown.

"The Brampton crowd got so big we decided to form our own club right here. The Georgetown fellows told us good luck and 28 years later we're still going."

As big as the club is, they're not finished growing. Although they are near capacity for their pits, spares come in very handy during the family oriented summer months. Wayne Crowe has been a member for eight years and points out that newcomers keep the club going strong.

"Even our spares are important to us. There are always guys who are sick one night or away on vacation with their families. Spots have to be filled so games can be played."

As cooperative as the city has been to the club, more pits are needed as is a covered sitting area to keep away the elements. These are issues that the president feels will be taken care of soon so as to continue a distraction free season for the organization he loves.

"We're confident about getting a picnic area and even a few more pits," says Condie. "Anything to help this club grow and prosper is all we want. We all care about the organization and the city it represents."

Representing the city is something the club does well.

Seventy-year-old Earl Vanderhart just had a great year as far as horseshoeing goes.

In the month of July he went to Wyoming for the World Championships and came first in his division.

Vanderhart then went to Saskatchewan, coming first again at the Canadian Championships.

Having come in second at the Ontario's in Belleville this past weekend (August 18,19,20), the 38-year Brampton resident says it was the best year ever.

"I couldn't have written a better script," Vanderhart beams. "This has been a great year as far as the winning, but I also had a chance to meet a lot of wonderful people and get a ton of great stories."

Vanderhart is very thankful to the City of Brampton for the pins he was given so as to participate in the traditional exchanging of pins between competitors at the tournaments.

For more information on the Brampton Men's Horseshoe Club, visit their Web site at http://www.horseshoebrampton.ca/

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