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home : news : news May 24, 2016

9/5/2013 10:57:00 AM
Harry Robinson family: Twenty-five years of throwin' shoes!

Few people go through life knowing what truly makes them happy. For 90-year-old Harry Robinson of Cannon Falls, this question that so many of us spend our entire lives trying to figure out was easy: family/friends, farming and horseshoes. In the summer of 1989, an idea became a tradition that is still very much alive twenty-five years later.

One of Harry's five children had just moved to Florida with her husband and children. They were making a trip back to MN to visit when the brainstorming began. "How can we get the family together in the short amount of time that we will be back?" An idea for a horseshoe tournament was thrown around. After all, many family members liked to play so it seemed like a good solution.

The suggestion was mentioned to Harry and he responded with an immediate "Yeah! Let's go for it!" Harry was more than willing to get people together, play horseshoes and hang with friends and family. In addition, being able to do this on his own farm was very appealing to him.

So there in the summer of 1989, on a beautiful August day, a tradition was started. It was called Harry Robinson's 1st Annual Horseshoe Extravaganza. Posters were even printed from the most modern of computers (for 1989) for the event. Every year since, family and friends of the Robinsons gather in the beginning of August.

This year, twenty six throwers showed up to compete on Saturday, August 10. Partners are decided based on a random drawing. Typically, up to third place is paid out with this year's winners being Harry's nephew, Dave Christopherson and Jim Davis. There is a traveling trophy the winning team can take home for a year as long as they add a plaque to it with their names.

When Jim was asked what the secret to his success is, he said "35 years of pitching horseshoes and practice, practice, practice." He always threw shoes with his Dad, but nobody could ever beat him. This inpired him to keep practicing to be a better player.

Harry as well has been known to win a few tournaments. His advice? You're never too old to learn something. Although he himself doesn't participate anymore, he enjoys sitting back and relaxing from the side.

Harry first had his love for throwin' shoes when he was a young boy. He started with stakes that were much smaller than normally used and took some old horseshoes off the wall in the barn and started throwing. "My Dad saw how good I was and said that if I could throw like that with real horseshoes (the ones actually used on horses), then I deserved a real regulation set." He eventually started to play with his son.

Everyone had a set of stakes back in the day. Harry reminisced about keeping a set of stakes around so when the fuel delivery man was filling up the tractor, they could get in a game or two.

Harry Robinson grew up playing horseshoes and having a love for family and friends. Although it took family moving away to bring people together, a wonderful tradition was born.

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