Bob Flanagan, a native West Virginian with a winter home in Bunnell, threw 143 ringers and won 12.5 out of 15 games to capture the title.
Bob Flanagan believes he only won the World Horseshoe Pitching Championship for two reasons.
“Because I prayed for every shoe I threw, and before I threw, I think God helped me to keep my mind focused,” he said.
From April to July, Flanagan pitched 300 horseshoes a day in preparation for the tournament, held in St. George, Utah. And on July 29, he celebrated a victory in the tournament’s men’s J2 class after winning 12.5 out of 15 games. He threw a total of 143 ringers.
However, Flanagan — a native West Virginian with a winter home in Bunnell — said he didn’t feel like he should be taking the credit.
“There’s no substitute for practice,” Flanagan said. “I certainly did improve through hours and hours of practice, but I have to give all the glory to God when it’s all said and done.”
Flanagan’s love for horseshoe pitching started at an early age. The 63-year-old has been pitching since he was 15 years old.
“I was raised in West Virginia, and West Virginians were born with a horseshoe in their hands it seems like,” he said. “Every home has a horseshoe pit.”
Flanagan, who has been a member of the Flagler County Horseshoe Pitching Club ever since he came to Florida three years ago, had to win five local tournaments in order to qualify for the World Championship.
When he first started, his pitching percentage — the amount of ringers made out of 100 pitches — was barely above 5%. After months of practice, he was pitching above 20%. Come tournament time, the extra practice paid off.
“I had two players to play against on my third round,” Flanagan said. “So, I knew I had to beat both of them. If I lost one more, I would have had to go into a playoff.”
Flanagan said he was under immense pressure throughout the whole tournament but added that his faith helped see him through each round.
“You’re mind is kind of your own worst enemy,” he said. “I just tried to calm myself down and slow myself down. I always like to give God all the glory and keep myself humble in those situations.”