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A tradition, some kudos and an opprtunity

I've fallen into a special Father's Day tradition the last few years.

My grandmother's family - the Drinkards - gathers at A.H. Stephens State Park in Crawfordville for their annual family reunion.

It's an afternoon of home-cooked dishes, fellowship, optional fishing and the coup de grace - the Drinkard Invitational: a gathering of some of the greatest (at least in their minds) horseshoe players from across the South.

Now, for the uninitiated, the game is played by tossing two horseshoes at a pole about 20 feet away. If you get one close enough, it's a point. A leaner on the pole is worth two points and a ringer gets you five. The game is over when a team reaches 21.

Or darkness falls. Whichever comes first.

If I'm playing, count on darkness.

For some reason, I've never been any good at horseshoes. Admittedly, it could have something to do with the fact that I only play once a year, but practice isn't the point. I still stink.

Now my Great Uncle Henry - the king of the pinto bean - has the game down to an art (even if he didn't make it past the first round this year). He tosses horseshoes from the minute he arrives at the park until my Aunt Sara drags him to the car. Somewhere in the middle, he'll take a few minutes for potato salad, fried chicken and banana pudding.

It's after lunch that the official tournament starts, complete with prizes ranging from a new fishing reel to a tool box. In the past, there's even been trophies.

The biggest prize of all, of course, is the bragging rights. After all, not everyone has the game to make it to the Drinkard Invitational.

Speaking of trophies, I want to hand out kudos to a couple of The Mirror's sister newspapers for winning some hardware of their own. The Georgia Press Association handed out their annual awards last weekend and The Columbia County News-Times won first place in its state category and The Jefferson News and Farmer won third place.

What about The Mirror? Wait until next year. We won't be eligible to enter the contest until then. And that's when I can finally finish filling the wall space around the office.

If you are looking for something to do this weekend, take a trip out to Old Milledgeville Road and check out Old Frontier Camp.

Chris Smith is opening the place from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday to kids and their families for a day-full of events. He said the family day was planned after overwhelming response to a week-long camp earlier this summer.

The cost for Saturday's camp is $10 per child, and parents get in for free. For more information about the Family Fun Day or the camp's services, call Chris at 595-4197 or 706-533-2544.



Web posted on Wednesday, June 22, 2005











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