Turner Having a Good Time Throwing Horseshoes
In the mid- to late-80s, Ed Turner followed his father Dave’s lead and began competing in the Deep River Horseshoe League (DRHL). Ed has since made his way up to the A Division of the DRHL, helping lead the Orioles into the midst of playoff hunt this season, while having lots of fun competing every Thursday night.
Ed’s father played in the DRHL until he was 85. He lived across the street from a horseshoe pit and liked the game. Ed’s dad wanted him to throw a turn shoe, but Ed has always been a flip shoe pitcher. No matter which way he threw it, Ed came to love horseshoes from an early age and enjoyed playing with his fellow competitors in the DRHL.
“I enjoyed doing it. It’s always a great time to go there. It’s fun. I knew everybody there. Everybody knew you,” says Ed, a Deep River resident. “It was friends meeting up on a Thursday night playing horseshoes and seeing what comes of it. It’s a good time.”
In the 90s, Ed took a half-decade break from horseshoes in order to race modified stock cars. He has raced at the Stafford Motor Speedway and the Waterford Speedbowl. However, Ed says that racing cars became a bit too pricey of a hobby. He has also skydived 18 times, but just like racing, that hobby proved expensive.
Ed decided to go back to that one hobby he started back in the 80s: horseshoes. When he made his return, Ed felt it was “kind of like riding a bike.” While he was a bit rusty, Ed knew that since he had tossed plenty of shoes in the past, he was ready to be back in the pits again.
Ed has competed in all three divisions during his time in the DRHL. He started in the C Division and then moved up to B. He then went up to the A Division before going back to the B Division, where he became one of the highest scorers.
Each match in the DRHL features six total games. The A Division plays with the C Division and then the B, after which the B plays with the C and then that pattern it is repeated. Oftentimes, the outcome boils down to the C-B matchup. Ed liked playing in the B and C divisions and embraced the competition that tended to happen at the end of matches.
“The last games of the night do usually fall on the C-B. If you’re in a tight race, it always comes down to the last shoe,” Ed says. “There’s a lot of pressure on that last person to get that ringer or get that point. I don’t mind. I think we have a good time with it.”
Ed has been competing in the A Division during the DRHL’s 2022 season, the 67th in league history. Through Week 14 play, Ed has recorded 1,302 points and 269 ringers. He’s also rung up 26 doubles and has a handicap of 27. Ed understands that he’s always taking on the top players in the DRHL as a member of the A Division. However, Ed likes being in the league’s top tier and seeing how he fares against some of the best pitchers that the DRHL has to offer.
“I enjoy it. Sometimes I beat better players when they have a bad game, sometimes I don’t,” says Ed. “But that’s where the handicap comes into play. It evens things out. You have some room to play with, but you can’t waste it. It’s a ball, though. I enjoy it.”
Ed currently plays for the Orioles alongside B Division pitcher Damin Roberts of Crowell and C Division thrower Andy Konefal of Deep River. Following Week 14 play, the Orioles were in third place in the DRHL standings with a record of 48.5-35.5. Ed feels the key to success has been the overall mindset that the Orioles bring to the horseshoe pits.
“We were just going down there pitching shoes,” Ed says. “We flew quietly under the radar. And we’re having fun doing it.”
DRHL statistician Joe Heery playfully gave the Orioles the nickname of “No Names” since all three players have “come out of nowhere” to take the league by storm this season. Heery has been impressed by Ed’s ability to throw from either side, along with his ability to stay levelheaded in any circumstance.
“Ed is one of the few players who toss on both sides of the pit box. What side depends on how his scoring goes,” says Heery. “Ed is one of the calmest players out there. Whether he tosses a 30 or a 20, he does not get rattled.”
At 63, Ed has put knee replacement surgery in the rearview mirror and has no plans to stop playing horseshoes anytime soon. Ed loves the game that his father showed him and loves being able to share that passion with his fellow throwers in the Deep River Horseshoe League.
“It means a lot. I’m going to keep playing until I can’t play anymore. I just went through a knee replacement, and it hasn’t slowed me down,” Ed says. “It’s all fun. That’s what it’s all about. It’s a great time for everybody.”