Horseshoes fly at Marion Fire Association fund-raiser

May 22, 2022

MARION — The horseshoes tossed at a tournament at the Silvershell Beach field Sunday, May 22 could bring luck to local students.

Proceeds from the tournament, which was sponsored by the Marion Firefighters Association, will help fund scholarships for area graduating seniors, said Marion Fire Department Capt. Joel Watters, who serves as treasurer of the association.

To the sound of horseshoes clanging and participants cheering or groaning, depending on the accuracy and distance of their throws, Marion Fire Recruit Andrew McAlarney, who helped organize the activity, explained that the tournament marks a comeback of sorts for the activity.

About seven years have passed since the last tournament was held at the field adjacent to the beach, McAlarney, who is vice president of the association, explained. Since then, the horseshoe pits fell into “rough shape,’’ he said, damaged by wind and overgrown with weeds.

Association members decided to host the tournament to draw attention to the availability of horseshoe pits, which not all residents know about.

Not long before the tournament, association members hosted a work party to clean up the pits in time for the May 22 event and the summer ahead. 

“The idea is to show this park still has life,’’ he said. “It’s worth resuscitating.’’

The tournament also showcased the efforts of the association, a nonprofit organization that provides financial assistance to fire department members and their families who are facing challenges.

The association also sponsors scholarships for area students and donates firefighting and other life-saving equipment to the department that isn’t specifically provided for in the Fire Department’s operating fiscal budget, including professional development opportunities to the firefighters to obtain advanced certifications.

The ability to support these efforts helped attract David Howley of Mattapoisett to the event. “I like to throw horseshoes,’’ he noted, “and it looked like a good cause.’’

Frank Pruchnik of Marion, once an enthusiastic horseshoe player, admitted that “like a lot of people, I transitioned into corn hole’’ in recent years, he said. But he won the last tournament held at the field and decided to try his luck again.

“It’s a fun thing to do,’’ he said. “It’s a fun day.’’