‘These ain’t no dancin’ shoes’

BARRY’S BAY – You wouldn’t think that horseshoes would be a sport that the youth of this country would be necessarily drawn to, but for 18-year-old Greg Palumbo, throwing ‘ringers’ has been a lifelong dedication.

Learning the sport from his father Gary, the steel-chucking teenager has been an avid shoe-thrower since he was a young gaffer.
At a recent local competition in Barry’s Bay, Palumbo placed third overall in the league championships.
Religiously playing the local and regional horseshoe circuit, Palumbo will be traveling to Belleville, Kitchener and all over the province in the upcoming months to stay within the competitive realm.
Conversely to what the average layperson might think of shoe-throwing, Palumbo gets a charge out of the highly competitive aspect of the game.
“Nobody would really think it, but horseshoes is really competitive. It’s right across Ontario, across Canada, across the United States and there is even a pro tour in the states,” Palumbo added.
With no urgent desire to move south and be on the pro tour, Palumbo is happy playing within Canada and competing at the highest level that he can.
“It would be hard to live in Canada and travel over to the states all the time so I think I’ll stick it out here,” Palumbo noted.
Having recently graduated from Madawaska Valley District High School (MVDHS), the avid competitor is currently undergoing an apprenticeship for carpentry with a local practice in Barry’s Bay and is putting in a ton of hours to complete it.
“For the apprenticeship, I have to work for 7,200 hours and do 120 days of school but you get paid to go to school, so that’s not too bad,” Palumbo said.
For the fall months, Palumbo is working from nine to five and in the winter, he’ll be clocking the 120 class hours that are needed for his program.
In his off time, though, the young chucker pours his passion into another area of the sport of horseshoes; shoe design.
Creating a specially painted and vividly colourful design for his shoes, which combines a bright orange and bright silver colour, Palumbo considers the design to be his trademark.
“I do a paint job very similar for all of them so I can recognize them at tournaments. Nobody does anything else similar to that so that if I see someone else picking them up, I know that they are mine,” Palumbo said.
Another part of horseshoes that Greg has made his own is the customized grip he uses when he holds the shoe.
“You’re going to think it’s absolutely insane but the way I hold my horseshoe is different than most people,” Palumbo added.
Story continues in the September 12, 2012 issue of The Valley Gazette.