How to Set Up a Horseshoe Tournament

Time to play horseshoes image by mcsgraphic from

Horseshoes is a fun and easy game to play. It is perfect for family reunions or get-togethers with friends. If you are particularly fond of the game, and know others who share your passion, consider setting up a horseshoe tournament. You can pre-select teams, play individually, or choose teams on site. Keep track of the winners with a dry erase board and play elimination games until two players or teams remain. At a minimum, all you need is one set of horseshoes and one pit to play on.

Locate a suitable playing field. Tournament horseshoe fields are 46 feet by 6 feet with one pit at each end. A pit must be 72 inches by 36 inches and the stake should be directly in the center of it. Build your own field or fields or use a pre-made field so long as it fits the tournament measurements.

Determine the makeup of the teams. Decide whether it will be player vs. player or team vs. team (horseshoes can be played by two teams of two).

Draw a line down the center of a dry-erase board. On one side, list the name of each player or team in a column. On this same side, make rows for "Wins" and "Losses."

Use the other side of the dry-erase board to create a schedule for the games. Draw this in a standard "bracket" fashion. Create a row for the preliminary games. In the second row, have the winners from each previous game play each other. Continue in this fashion until the final two teams remain. Fill in this section as the games are played.

Arrange for a specific time to start the tournament. Inform the players of the tournament to show up at that time. Play the games according to the preliminary schedule. Winners move on; losers can play a "loser bracket" or go home.

Things You'll Need

  • Horseshoe pits
  • Horseshoes
  • Dry-erase board and markers


About the Author

Based in Traverse City, Mich., George Lawrence has been writing professionally since 2009. His work primarily appears on various websites. An avid outdoorsman, Lawrence holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in both criminal justice and English from Michigan State University, as well as a Juris Doctor from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School, where he graduated with honors.

Photo Credits

  • Time to play horseshoes image by mcsgraphic from