Forsythia Festival horseshoe tournament holder hangs up his shoes

After 25 years, the Forsythia Festival horseshoe tournament is riding off into the sunset.

The Forsythia Festival horseshoe tournament is ending after 25 years of competition from competitors around the state.

Lee Smith says he is done hosting a tournament that once featured national horseshoe champions as well as amateurs.

The decision came last September when he got an oak tree removed from his property.

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He said that they had the equipment to remove the 5-pound stakes and he just went with his gut feeling.

Smith says 25 years was enough. He didn’t want the tournament to disintegrate as he got older and it was taking a toll on his body.

“A lot of people have asked me why in the world would you want to quit, but I’m getting older and after a full day of hollering and screaming and yelling it took me 2 or 3 days to get over it,” said Smith. “I just thought, like a lot of good things, it’s better to go out when you’re on top.”

Smith said that he would only let 64 competitors sign up each year.

He said about half of the competitors were from surrounding counties and it drew a lot people to the area.

He said they even had two families that would have their family reunion at the tournament.

Smith said there are other events at the Forsythia Festival that he hopes folks will go to.

He said that if you miss tossing horseshoes, you could try tossing beanbags at the Tailgate Toss at Person Banking Company that will be held on March 10 at noon.

He adds that he will be attending the festival, but as a guest this time.