Elkhart County 4-H Fair ringer: 85-year-old woman takes to horseshoes later in life

    Audrey Wenger of Goshen picked up the sport at the age of 70 and loves competing at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair.

    Posted on July 25, 2014 at 3:57 p.m.

    GOSHEN — Audrey Wenger remembers the exact day she became interested in horseshoes.

    “I was in Florida just watching some friends toss the horseshoes, when I asked someone if I could try,” Wenger said. “So I tried it and actually got a couple of ringers and that helped me get hooked. It was actually the first time I had ever picked up a horseshoe.”

    That was 15 years ago when she was 70 years old. The lifelong Goshen resident is still a top contender to win her class at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair each year.

    Wenger was watching a traveling horseshoe league in the Meadowlark Camp Ground in Florida, where she spends each winter. After seeing the newcomer pick up the sport so easily, it wasn’t long before a team asked Wenger to join them. The groups compete against other campgrounds in the area.

    Then in 2001, just three years after picking up a horseshoe for the first time, Wenger became the first woman to ever win her class during fair horseshoe pitching.

    “That was a nice honor, but the important part is it’s great exercise,” Wenger says. “I’ve met some great people since I started and I’ve never had so much fun.”

    But don’t let Wenger fool you, she does like to win.

    “Oh, I’m very competitive,” Wenger says freely. “But I promise you, it’s still the camaraderie that keeps me coming back.”

    When asked her secret to becoming such a good player so quickly, Wenger had an immediate answer.

    “Practice, practice, practice,” Wenger said. “Of course there is determination there too, but I try to practice for a couple hours a day when I get the opportunity and that helped me pick up the game fairly quickly.”

    So remember, even if you’re 70 or older and have never even seen a horseshoe pitched, it’s never to late to start.

    Just ask Audrey Wenger.

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