Enter the

Hall of Fame

& Museum

Hall of Fame

  • Introduction
  • Early History
  • Decisions on Location
  • Construction
  • Growth of the Club
  • Landscaping
  • Jack Freeman Memorial Walkway

Upon seeing the NHPA Hall of Fame & Museum for the first time, visitors will quickly tell the QRHC members how lucky and fortunate they are to be able to pitch in probably the best facility in the world.Believe me, we agree! But there is another side of the coin that most people are unaware of.I would like to give you a short history of the Quail Ridge Horseshoe Club, how and why we were chosen to become caretakers of this facility, and an insight of how the QRHC members maintain the operation of the facility.

The QRHC, formerly the New Melle Horseshoe Club, was formed in 1990 with only 32 members and 4 outdoor courts. It was soon expanded to 8 courts and a building was erected around them. Later an additional 4 more courts were added.Our club grew to over 250 members and we became known as the "Largest Horseshoe Club in the World" well over the population size of the small town of New Melle where our club was located. During the winter months a pitcher would have to sign up months in advance to get into a tournament at the courts. That was because there was only one other indoor horseshoe facility in Missouri so horseshoe pitchers would travel many miles to pitch inside. As a club we were all happy and contented, and enjoyed traveling to out-of-state events together, such as chartering a bus traveling to Music City for friendly competition for many years. During this growth time, a bond was formed between the members - we all loved and had fun pitching horseshoes together.

Jack Freeman would tell us "I never saw such enthusiasm and excitement in a horseshoe club" and he was envious of our camaraderie.In 1999 when the St. Louis Rams played the Tennessee Titans for the Super Bowl Championship we made another trip to Joelton.Wearing our Rams hats made from construction paper we marched into the Tennessee arena.Such fun we had. It was ironic that only a few years down the road we found ourselves high on a hilltop in a luxurious horseshoe palace that rivaled the Joelton complex that Jack built.

After Jack's death in December 2003, his indoor courts became part of an estate settlement and it took 15 months before Dave Loucks as NHPF President was finally able to purchase the Joelton courts for the Foundation. By this time, the NHPF and NHPA officers knew that Joelton was not the best location for the National Hall of Fame. At the suggestion of Joe Faron, Dave came to Missouri to view other potential sites. He determined the Quail Ridge Park location to be near perfect. With the concurrence of the NHPA officers, Dave and the NHPF entered into a land lease agreement with St. Charles County for three acres on which the HOF facility was built and dedicated in October 2007. Our horseshoe club was asked to be its caretakers because of the location, and because we were a club with 200 members strong.

While the decision to build on the Wentzville site was made in early 2005, it took nearly two more years before Dave and the NHPF, needing the approval of the Tennessee State Attorney General, was able to sell the Joelton property. Fortunately, this did not delay the start of construction in Wentzville because the initial NHPA seed money that opened the NHPF account in 1996 along with ten years of fund-raising had grown the Foundation endowment to an amount sufficient to cover the first 60% of construction costs.

It was during the construction stage that the NHPF/NHPA and the QRHC entered into a building operation agreement.The QRHC members agreed to do much of the physical labor saving the NHPF over $10,000. It was an extremely hot summer in 2007. There was no electricity and no water in the building as the QRHC members daily cleaned up after the carpenters and drywall hangers. And then the painting party began - every room including office, storage, kitchen, furnace, lobby and the HOF room had to be given two coats. Every iron brown truss that you see needed painting to prevent rusting.The pits were installed and the court lines drawn and painted.Every piece of tile was carefully laid.Lumber was cut and nailed to the inside walls for horseshoe protection. Chain link fencing was installed, as was the beautiful countertop for scorekeeping purposes. Doors had to be hung.At least 30 of the QRHC members were trained on the health & safety codes so we could properly operate the kitchen. And then we had to purchase a beer license lots of red tape and quite expensive we found out. The last piece of tile was being laid on the morning of October 5, 2007, our opening day! That year the Quail Ridge Horseshoe Club received the 2007 NHPA Presidential Award for its hard work and dedication to the sport of horseshoe.

The QRHC soon recognized that we were no longer a horseshoe club that was just being financed by its dues.We were a business.We had to figure out ways for our income to meet our expenses. For the first year our expenses ran about $2500 per month. That included the rent to the NHPF, the heating and cooling expenses, telephone, gas, water, trash pickup, etc. We realized that we had to depend on tournaments, concessions and souvenirs to bring in the funds.

The QRHC had to be efficiently organized and appoint club managers in charge of various duties. One of these duties is to keep our building clean. It takes approximately 12-15 people working together for 4 hours to clean 22,000 sq feet of space and we do this at least once a month.Our members volunteer their time to come to the building to act as host/hostess four days a week so that the public can visit the facility to see what horseshoe pitching is all about. The QRHC members have worked hard these past several years to achieve this. So while we have all the glory and fame with the daily use of the facility, we also bear and share the responsibility of keeping it going, making it work not only for our club but for NHPA members everywhere.

The St. Charles County Parks Department spent $400,000 for the huge parking lot and its beautiful landscaping. The plants and flowers surrounding the Jack Freeman Memorial Brick Walkway are beautiful all year around, but especially during the springtime. The outdoor courts are set on an acre of ground in the back of the building and were completed in the summer of 2008 and maintained by the members of the QRHC using bobcats, hand shovels and rakes.Thank Heavens, we have some wonderful hard working members who are dedicated in making the club and the facility successful.Since the opening of this facility we have picked up many new members and we are always looking for ways to publicize and expose this million-dollar facility to gain

Have you taken a walk to the Jack Freeman Memorial Walkway? Missouri horseshoe pitchers can feel proud that we are the #1 state purchasing bricks. If you haven't purchased your brick yet talk with any of the QRHC members and they will help you with your order. You will feel so proud when you see your brick in place. Keep on supporting the NHPF with your donations and brick orders it is the only way to preserve the history, showcase the present and build the future of horseshoe pitching the game we all love and enjoy.

I hope that I have presented you with a "behind the scenes" view of how the QRHC operates to maintain the Hall of Fame facility and to present it to the public in such a way that every MOHPA horseshoe pitcher across America is proud to be a member of our organization.

Keep on supporting the NHPF with your donations and brick orders it is the only way to preserve the history, showcase the present and build the future of horseshoe pitching the game we all love and enjoy. Donations to the NHPF can be sent to P.O. Box 1628, Penn Valley, CA 95946.