Nunda Historical Society's

The History of
Sports in Nunda

Quoits & Horseshoes
Updated 12/17/2016

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This history is a work in process. We encourage readers to send suggestions, additions and corrections.

     Quoits and horseshoes were once popular sports in Nunda.
     Quoits is the older of the two. The game was brought from Europe to America in colonial times and spread west after the Revolutionary War. Quoits used an iron ring, usually weighing between two to three pounds, pitched or tossed at a stake 21 feet away. Ringing the stake or having the closest quoit to it resulted in scoring.
      Quoits playing is as old as the village itself. In the 1830s quoits were pitched behind the Farmer’s Exchange - the buildings that now line the western side of the square. Later players pitched right in the village streets. Problems arose when spectators blocked the wooden sidewalks, interfering with village gentlemen and ladies out for a stroll. A village ordinance was passed in 1895 that forbade, under penalty of a $5 fine or five-day imprisonment, any quoit pitching on a public street.
      Despite the crack down, pitching quoits remained popular in Nunda well into the Twentieth Century. Family reunions, farmer’s picnics, and firemen’s gatherings usually included quoits. The Nunda News of May 20, 1921 reported that in Dalton “it is a jolly crowd that gathers at the old croquet grounds for the purpose of seeing who is the best at pitching quoits." (It is not known exactly where those Dalton's "old croquet grounds" were located.) Many local folks attended the big quoits competition at the Allegany County Fair in 1940 and the Casket Company's annual picnic in August 1946 at Letchworth Park included pitching quoits.
      But it wasn’t long before pitching horseshoes overtook the older game of quoits. There is some disagreement over the origin of the sport of horseshoes but the rules used today were set down in England in 1869. The sport became popular first in the Midwest. Indiana's Cambridge City Tribune declared it the “principal sport of the day” in 1877. The first American horseshoe tournament was held in 1910 and the first statewide tournament was held at Cornell University during the State Field Days in June 1922.
      The Nunda News often carried announcements of upcoming horseshoe pitching contests that were routinely held in Rochester, Long Point Park on Conesus Lake and every county fair. Horseshoe pitching for boys and girls was listed as one of several supervised activities offered each Wednesday evening at the Nunda school playground in the summer of 1943. Horseshoes were often played in the little school park located across the creek from the school where the old bus garage stands on Water Street. Horseshoes was also advertised as being part of the Nunda Rod & Gun Club’s first annual clam bake held on Oak Hill in September 1945.The sport continued to be part of many local picnics and reunions through the 1950s and 60s, and continued as a regional Grange activity well into the 1980s. Horseshoe Pitching clubs still exist in several areas of the State.
     Quoits and horseshoe pitching, once popular in the town, are rarely seen in Nunda today.


Readers are encouraged to contribute stories to this page. The stories can be of any length and talk about teams, seasons, outstanding individuals, coaches, or anything relating to this sport. You will be credited for the story and listed in the contributors' section found at the end of this page.


Please send in photographs related to this sport. Digital copies are fine, please contact the Historical Society to arrange for scanning. We also encourage donations of photographs. You will be listed in the contributors.


Share your memories related to the sport. These can be just sentences or paragraphs. Your initials will be listed with the memory and your name listed in the contributors.


Copies of clippings, artifacts, and other items related to this sport can be contributed and will appear in this section.

To learn more about quoits, you can go to The United States Quoiting Association page.

Nunda News August 3, 1895

Top: Notice of the the "anti" quoits local law as found in the August 3, 1895 issue of the Nunda News. This law may still be on the books!

Right: Article from the June 16, 1922 issue of the Nunda News announcing the addition of a statewide horseshoe contest and the Farmers' Field Days at Cornell University. It is likely that some local farm families attended and participated in the event.



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