Tossing the shoe

Danyleyko is considered an A level horseshoe player, meaning the Winfield Horseshoe Club member nails a ringer more than half the time.

Winfield’s 88-year-old Andy Danyleyko tosses a shoe during the Salmon Arm Summer Horseshoe Tournament held earlier this year at the SA Horseshoe Club pitch.

When Lake Country horseshoe pitcher Andy Danyleyko lets loose with a horseshoe, more often than not the shoe ends up right on target.

Danyleyko is considered an A level horseshoe player, meaning the Winfield Horseshoe Club member nails a ringer more than half the time.

To be considered an A player, one must throw a ringer over 50 per cent of the time. Danyleyko’s average sits at 56 per cent. Never mind the game he tossed 80 per cent ringers. He’s just that good.

“There are days when you feel better when you are playing and there are days when you are a little luckier,” said Danyleyko, whose latest accomplishment was a tournament win in Salmon Arm.

More than winning, Danyleyko says it’s about having fun with friends and getting out and participating in a past-time.

“I’ve always enjoyed it,” he said. “I think it’s good exercise. You go out there and forget about the rest of the world. It gives you a break from everything that is going on.”

Danyleyko has been a member of the Winfield Horseshoe Club since he and his wife moved to Winfield in 1990. Prior to that they hadn’t belonged to a club and had taken part mostly in backyard contests.

“I was glad they had a club here because I liked the game,” he said. “It’s a really nice club.”

Winfield Horseshoe Club founding member Doris Wilton says Danyleyko’s skills are clear to anyone who watches him.

“We’re still amazed that he is hanging in their and pitching so well,” said Wilton. “Usually people around his age give up.”

The Winfield Horseshoe Club dates back to 1981 when Wilton and her husband moved to Winfield from Alberta and first approached Rutland about building a horseshoe club. When the approval never came, Wilton turned to Lake Country and the Winfield Horseshoe Club was born.

It was built by the members and still sits on the same site, next to the curling club and Winfield Arena. But membership numbers have been dropping.

“It’s still going good but our members have dropped quite a bit because they are getting older,” she said.

Danyleyko says the sport doesn’t appear to be catching on with the younger generation.

“I feel the younger generation probably has different interests,” he said. “I’m sure they are into some sort of activity but horseshoes seems to be fading away slowly.”

The numbers may be dropping but that isn’t stopping the crew at the Winfield Horseshoe Club from continuing to play every Tuesday and Thursday night. They will also host a tournament coming up in September with horseshoe pitchers from around the province starting to arrive in Lake Country on Sept. 8.