Shoe Biz Profile - February 1999


Originally Written by Jeanette Claas

Our Shoe Biz spotlight shines upon a lady from the northwestern part of our state who from the first time she picked up a horseshoe was hooked for the rest of her life!

Loree Meier's nephew, Alan Francis, first inspired her when he attended his first World Tournament at the age of 9 at Genola, MN in 1981. When Alan, his family, his grandparents and aunt returned home from the trip with so much excitement that Loree got caught up in the fever just hearing about it. Alan took 4th place in that tournament with an average of 82.2%. He could indeed teach his Aunt Loree a thing or two. "Alan talked me into pitching horseshoes, and all of his help gives me the initative to continue pitching horseshoes as long as I can."

Their neighbors has some stakes in the ground and a pair of horseshoes and so she began pitching to see what she could do. The following year Jack built a court in their backyard and she would throw 600 to 700 shoes a day. She had the determination of a weed! Jack took up canning green beans so Loree could practice!

Let's return to yesteryear to the town where Loree Hart grew up on a farm. It was a small community about 8 miles from the Iowa line named Cainsville, MO. She was the third oldest child in a family of ten children, 7 girls, 3 boys. One of her younger sisters, Joyce, would grow up to be the mother of Alan Francis, Missouri's State Champion for ten years. Being one of the oldest children, Loree had done her fair share of the chores from milking cows to baby sitting. She attended a one room school house from first grade through grade 6. The family later moved to town where she graduated from Cainsville High School in 1951.

After graduation she moved to Kansas City to find employment. She found work at AT&T as a long distance telephone operator and worked there until 1962. While working in Kansas City, she met her future husband, Jack Meier, at a dance and they were married on March 3, 1962. They were blessed with two daughters, Carla and Karen. Carla and her husband, Brian, live in Raymore and have made Loree and Jack the proud grandparents of Allison, 7 years and Taylor, 4 years. Their youngest daughter, Karen, is single and living in Ft. Worth, TX. Jack and Loree have made their home in Independence for 36 years.

Loree and Jack bowled together for many years, in fact Loree still bowls once a week, but back in 1981, Jack heard about a horseshoe league forming and he decided horseshoe pitching would be a lot cheaper than bowling! He had no idea at that time that in the coming years he would be making many trips to tournaments across the United States. Bowling, perhaps, might have been cheaper! Loree and Jack joined the Independence Horseshoe Club in 1981 and have been members for 16 years. It was the beginning of her horseshoe pitching career, and excel she did!

Shortly after joining the league, Loree ventured right into her first World Tournament at Huntsville, AL in 1982. She entered in Class "J" and won her class with a 30% average. The bug had bit. She has attended every World Tournament since then with the exception of 1994 when she was about to become "Grandma" for the second time. Her WT titles include Class H Champion in 1983 and Class D Champion in 1984 with a 51.6% average. In 1988 she won 6th place in Class A in Pleasantown, CA. In 1997 at Gillette, WY she was hot on the courts winning all 15 games in Class C with a 66.3%. The last 3 previous years she entered the WT's as a Senior woman and has made the Senior Women's Championship Class each time, finishing second place the last two years.

The year 1986 was a dream season for Loree. She surprised herself when she won the State Fair Championship Class in Sedalia. A few weeks later she surprised everyone when she, at the age of 52, won the Women's State Championship in Independence. She upset Vicki Winston, who has won the National and World titles ten times, in the finals. "I was in shock," Loree recalls. "I guess Vicki had a bad game and me, a good one!" It was at this time that "Sports Illustrated" heard about the event and came to Loree's home to interview her. They presented her with a Silver Platter and took her picture which appeared with an article in the "Faces in the Crowd" section of the magazine. Quite an honor for a gal pitching only 4 years! Loree has missed only one State Tournament since 1982 throughout her pitching career. In 1998 she entered the State Tournament with an average of 63.15%

Some of her most exciting matches and best pitching records have been achieved at the Las Vegas Open Tournament held in January each year. Jack remembers these trips as exciting and lots of fun, but also expensive totaling up airline, motel and casino fees! In October 1994, Loree was in a car accident and suffered back injuries and a broken arm. To cheer her up Jack flew with her to Las Vegas for a little R&R. She especially remembers this tournament as they ran across Don & Mary Ann Ell and Bob & Rose Diekamp. The Diekamp's were on their honeymoon and Rose was elated winning her class in the tournament! Loree was unable to pitch but they watched the event as Rich Pintor of Colorado won the Class A Championship. She became a three-time mixed champion class winner of the Las Vegas Tournament. She returned there the next two years, 1996 & 97' winning the event over the former Colorado Champion, Rich Pintor. As this newsletter goes to press, Loree is in Vegas participating once again in this exciting event. We wish her well!

Loree also holds a Missouri record for pitching the shortest game at a state tournament in the women's division, winning the game in 20 shoes. She pitched this game in 1990 against Mary Ann Ell.

Ladies horseshoe pitching has come a long way since Loree started pitching. The Missouri State Tournament now holds at least 8 ladies classes as compared to two classes back in 1982. With more and more ladies pitching comes the increase of competition and pressure. But she is always waiting for the next contender, the next challenge. She has attended and participated in many tournaments throughout her pitching career, racking up some 50 trophies, numerous plaques, pin holders, metals, ribbons, a silver cup and platter. The Missouri Horseshoe Pitchers Association salutes this lady, whose pitching ability has added much to the excitement in ladies horseshoe pitching. When the going gets tough, Loree gets tougher!

The below score sheet shows the stats of the game that gave Loree her State Championship title in 1986.

        Class: A           Date: Aug 31, 1986
        Game No: 7         Court: 1
        Vicki Winston      v.s    Loree Meier
        Ring  Pts  Score         Ring   Pts  Score
         X     -     -      2     XO     3     3
         X     -     -      4      X     1     4
         X     -     -      6     XO     3     7
         X     1     1      8      X     -     -
        XO     3     4     10      X     -     -
        --     -     -     12      X     3    10
         X     -     -     14     XO     3    13
         X     -     -     16     XO     3    16
         X     -     -     18      X     1    17
         O     3     7     20     --     -     -
         X     -     -     22      X     1    18
         X     -     -     24     XO     3    21
        XO     3    10     26      X     -     -
         X     -     -     28     XO     3    24
        XX     -     -     30     XX     -     -
        XX     -     -     32     XX     -     -
        XX     -     -     34     XX     -     -
        XX     -     -     36     XX     -     -
        XO     3    13     38      X     -     -
         X     -     -     40     XO     3    27
        XO     3    16     42      X     -    27
         X     -     -     44     XO     3    30
        XO     3    19     46      X     -    30
        XX     -     -     48     XX     -    30
        --     -     -     50     OO     6    36
        OO     6    25     52     --     -    36
        XX     -     -     54     XX     -     -
        OO     6    31     56     --     -     -
         X     -     -     58     XO     3    39
         X     -     -     60     XO     3    42
                    31   POINTS    42
                    41   RINGERS   44
                    12   DOUBLES   17
                    60   SHOES     60
                   68.3  PERCENT  73.3