Junior champion hopes to defend horseshoe pitching title at World Horseshoe Pitching competition

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WICHITA FALLS (KFDX KJTL) — The National Horseshoe Pitching Competition in going into the second week at the MPEC.

The junior class is wrapping up its preliminary rounds Friday.

With the National Horseshoe Pitching Competition underway, mothers, daughters, fathers and sons all played together hoping to make it to the junior championships.

This mother and son duo from Arkansas take the competition seriously.

“It’s family fun,” competitor Wendy Hayes said. “I’m not a good as my son, obviously, I aspire to be as good as him, but to be able to be together and do something together. I tell people all the time it’s a wonderful thing.”

Hayes’ son Derek started playing five years ago started out with his uncle and his stepfather, but two years ago he lost his teammates.

“He throws his Uncle Loyd’s horseshoes that was my brother that got me into playing him, and my husband, played they both died two-and-a-half years ago,” Hayes said. “Me and Derek are the ones that do the horseshoes now.”

Although the past two years have been tough, with determination Derek stuck to the sport and the following year won world champion in South Carolina.

“Last year, I won World Junior Boys Champion, so this year I came to Wichita Falls, Texas so I can defend my title,” Derek said.

Ahead of the championships Saturday, Derek said he plans to not only keep his title but keep the memory of his former teammates alive as he moves forward a champion.

“I’ll be playing probably the rest of my life,” Derek said. “It’s my thing now. It’s my sport, it’s horseshoes, it’s what I wanna do the rest of my life.”

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