TAHLEQUAH, Okla. - After two years getting close to the top of the leader board in the world horseshoe championships, the third time was the charm for a Cherokee County boy.
Tahlequah native Cale Matlock, 11, won the title of Cadet World Horseshoe Champion at a tournament in Montgomery, Ala. on July 22. The previous two years, Matlock placed third in his first year of world competition in the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association (NHPA) and second in his second year.
Matlock swept the Cadet (12 and under) competition, with a 16-0 streak. He threw 543 ringers with an average of 75.56 percent.
Matlock says the formula for success is simple: practice. "When I can, I do [practice]," Matlock said. "Sometimes I have other sports involved and I can't practice."
Horseshoe pitching isn't even Matlock's favorite sport. He also plays football, basketball and baseball.
"He's real competitive," said Al Ross, Cale's grandfather, who gave the world champ his start pitching horseshoes. "He don't flinch [sic] when the person ahead of him has a double ringer on him, you know, that's what pulled him through."
Ross took three of his grandkids to the world championships last month. All four family members placed.
"Had one world champion, Cale," said Ross. "The other grandson [Lane], who's 14, ended up second in his class, which is the B class, and then ended up seventh overall and got to be the first consolation to the finals. And Logan, she finished sixth in her class and ended up seventh in the world in juniors."
Ross pitched his way to sixth in his class, which he said is "in the money."
Matlock, Ross and their other pitching family members will take part in the state championships, which are set for Sept. 3 and 4 at the Tri-Community Complex at 17896 S. 580 Rd. in Tahlequah.
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