Throwing horseshoes has always been a family affair for Nancy Cataford. Her dad taught her and her sister to play when she was seven.
“We went out to a farm and got real horseshoes from a horse for us to play with. He would often have to fish them out of the trees because we would throw them too high. He was so patient all those years, I bet he fished a thousand horseshoes out of the trees for us,” said Cataford.
She played with her dad in regattas near the lake in Ontario where her family had a trailer. She still has the trophies that she and her dad won in 1979 when they played together.
“My dad always played, not professional or anything, but he played with a lot of guys that were professionals, so my dad was good. He could just toss it and it would go on the pin,” said Cataford.
She moved to Nelson in 1989 from Oshawa, Ontario after her husband said he was going to move to Nelson.
“My husband had worked out here as an electrician at Chahko Mika Mall and he always said he wanted to come back. When I met him, which was in 1988, and he said he was going to Nelson and I said, ‘not without us you aren’t,’” she said.
Cataford sold everything and quit her job and the left for the Kootenays.
“I didn’t have a clue where I was going to, but when we got to the orange bridge, because we left our two kids in Wycliffe with my best friend while we looked for a house, and I just saw the bridge and thought, ‘Oh my God, this is just amazing,’”
She’s been practicing for the upcoming BC Seniors Games in her backyard.
“I find with horseshoes it’s an individual sport and there is a lot of skill to it, so you are always trying to improve every time. Now I have horseshoe pits in my backyard, but mine are slanted on a hill, so if I can throw ringers there, I know I can throw it on flat ground,” said Cataford.
She took home the bronze medal at the BC Seniors Games in Richmond in 2009.
“I don’t remember their names, but the two that won gold and silver were good, I beat them in some games, so I knew I could do it but I hadn’t played in years. I’ve just been away. I was in Europe and I just got back from the Arctic, so I need to get out there and practice,” she said.
“I’m really excited I want everyone to see what it’s like. You don’t die at 55, I was looking forward to participating in the Seniors Games, and I think it keeps me young.”
Horseshoes will take place in Castlegar at the Pass Creek regional exhibition grounds.