The pitching season for 2011 is over for the year. Between tournament pitching and design, it’s been a very productive and rewarding year. The season was ended with second places in the Maryland Singles and Maryland Doubles, topped off with a first place in the HP Pro Tour event in Frederick, Maryland for Class 2–30 feet. I also won the Maryland Points Challenge for 2011. Design wise, I completed the design of three new horseshoes which were approved by the NHPA. In addition, I completed the design of 4 additional models, all of which have been 3D printed and and sent to the foundry for prototype casting. These 4 designs are scheduled to be returned the first week of November. Each of the new designs are discussed below.
Three designs, two of which are part of the Tribute Series were submitted to the NHPA for approval. All three were approved by the NHPA on 10 September 2011. Testing is underway and decisions about production will be made after testing is completed. Each of the three is discussed below. Each of the horseshoes includes a Hilfling designed hook calk which is the same on both sides. This design permits a flip shoe with thumb calk up, to be turned with the thumb calk down. Click any image for a larger view.
The Aviator — is the first approved as part of the Tribute Series and is dedicated to the U.S. Air Force. It is similar in appearance to the Steinfeldt horseshoe of old. This horseshoe, like most of the Hilfling shoes is perfectly balanced. There is a shank notch to define the Center of Gravity point. The Aviator is perimeter weighted around the outer perimeter and includes the Hilfling hook calk for the flip or turn.
The Trident — The Trident is the second in the Tribute Series and is dedicated to the U.S. Navy. The Trident has a unique ringer break, is perimeter weighted, shank notched and perfectly balanced. The ringer break is designed to give the flipper the option of flipping square, open or closed. The position of the index and middle fingers will dictate which of the three choices control the flight of the horseshoe. The indentations around the ringer break fit the reverse flipper perfectly. The Hilfling hook calk is incorporated.
The Eagle — The Eagle is the third of the three designs approved by the NHPA. The design was an experiment in an egg-shaped shank. There is a small ringer break and an indentation to define the center of gravity on each shank. The shoe can be flipped or turned with the Hilfling calk.
The four designs below have all been 3D printed and shipped to the foundry for prototype casting. Candidates for NHPA approval will be submitted to the NHPA. Two of the shoes are part of the Tribute Series. The Warrior dedicated to the U.S. Marines and the Patriot dedicated to the Vietnam Veteran.
The Warrior — is dedicated to the U.S. Marine. The Warrior is perimeter weighted, balanced and can be flipped or turned. It takes advantage of the full width and height permitted for any approved horseshoe. This is a great shoe for capturing all of those important single points.
The Torque — The Torque is the most unusual horseshoe I’ve designed. It is roughly based on the shape of the Aviator. It has been my observation that a shoe that arrives slightly rotated either open or closed reduces lost ringers. This shoe allows the pitcher to grip the shoe normally, but, will apply an automatic rotation depending on which side is flipped. First, it has a thumb calk on both sides. The center of gravity has been relocated to force the shoe to rotate clockwise or counter-clockwise depending on which side is flipped. Normally, causing this rotation is a function of the location of your thumb on the calk. I have found that it is easier to allow the shoe to rotate automatically without changing my thumb position on the calk. The shoe should be gripped and flipped as usual, but, it will rotate slightly prior to arriving at the stake. The pitcher decides which rotation is best to eliminate bounceback or unwanted rotation around the stake. I pitch from the right side and have found that a shoe that rotates counter-clockwise works best for me. Normally, a shoe coming in from the right will continue rotating clockwise. I find that forcing the shoe to rotate counter-clockwise reduces the amount of rotation, in sand or clay. This should help eliminate losing ringers that are pushed off backwards.
The Patriot — The Patriot is dedicated to the Vietnam Veteran. This is specifically a turn shoe. In addition, the thumb calk is narrower and raised to the same level as the height of the hook calks. I’ve made the shanks a bit wider at the center of gravity. I also designed this shoe to be easily changed to a flip shoe. This Patriot is designed more for the finger turner. It also works particularly well for a flip-turn as the shoe should arrive with a 3-point landing. The hook calks are with the traditional skid plates.
The Gyro — The Gyro is a departure from my normal design. It is roughly designed after the Ted Allen. It is specifically a turn shoe. Again, the thumb calk is narrower and higher than traditional thumb calks. This is a turn shoe for the hand grip.