I want to start this off by thanking every player who has helped support The Horseshoe Tour over its first decade of existence. Over the years we’ve gone through format changes, name changes, payout changes, schedule changes… the list goes on. Nothing has stayed the same, yet we’ve endured it all and have always come out stronger in the end. We’ve been in a constant state of change since day one in just about every way with one exception… our players. We’ve always had the best players in this sport and we are very, very grateful for that. Because of this, we decided way back that even though The Horseshoe Tour is not a member run organization and isn’t under any obligation to reveal its financial status to its players, we’d do so anyways and this is no exception. Like every other organization out there, The Horseshoe Tour has operating expenses which are always on the rise. Outside of those expenses, we pay back just about everything we take in during a season to our players. At the end of each season, we try to leave a little in reserve to help start off the next season, and to cover off-season expenses and so far, with a little luck along the way, we’ve somehow managed to do that.
For those unfamiliar with our operations, it’s a very common sense approach and if there’s ever any question, it’s all there for every player to see throughout each season. Just look a little closer at the income and payout details on each tournament summary sheet… add in the Big Game contest winnings paid at the end of the season and that’s pretty much the whole story. If you then take a minute and do the math on all that, you’ll quickly see that there is very little left over when it’s all said and done. Whatever is left is what we operate the Tour on and those reserve funds have been dwindling down to a lesser amount each of these past few seasons, ever since we started this new payout system in the Prime Division with no eliminations, every place paid, and virtually all entry fee paid back. We knew when we started it that it would be unsustainable and that we’d eventually have to rein it in. But, like we often do with new things on this Tour, we wanted to start it with a bang and go as long as we could, which we did for several seasons. But, the time to rein it in is now.
Like I said, expenses are always on the rise and to be frank, last season’s player payouts left us running on fumes. The upcoming season is virtually the same and we know we can’t make it through another like that without making changes. Obviously, change is the name of the game when it comes to running this Tour and we’re very good at handling it. But unfortunately, we don’t have a lot of ways to change our income on the fly. That takes some creativity, as all of our funding is basically preset. For example, the funding from our host sites is under contract and locked in, so we can’t pull any extra money from those sources. Membership in the Tour is free, so we can’t draw any funds increase from there like other organizations can. In fact, our only real options are to raise entry fees and/or cut payouts. Luckily, we don’t need to pick up a ton of money to put us back in the black. So, the effect on entry fees and payouts will be minimal. It equates simply to a $5 increase in entry fee for Prime players and a new payout block. Starting in 2019, all places are still paid, but the top 5 final four brackets (A thru E) will receive a minimum of $80 for third and fourth places, and final four brackets below that level will be paid a minimum payout of $100-$80-$50-$50. This combination gets us to where we need to be, changes will be made to the new entry form.
It’s been years since we’ve had to increase any costs to our players. In fact, we’ve mostly done the exact opposite, but this season we have no choice. We always put player interests first and we are sure our players understand that we’re just doing what we have to, so that we can continue to present them with opportunities to compete in these awesome tournaments for another decade and hopefully far beyond that. We look forward to a great 2019 season starting as always, in Newberry, SC in mid April. Following Newberry, in early June will be a return to another original site in Lowell, NC. We are really excited to go back to Lowell… Like Newberry, it’s one of the best places to pitch in the Eastern US… don’t miss either of these! Then we take a break in July to allow for the NHPA’s World Tournament in Wichita Falls, TX. Then, once again, The Horseshoe Tour visits Winnemucca, NV in late August and we finish 2019 in Morgan City, LA in mid October… the perfect place to close the season, as always. We’re working on the 2020 season now and I must say, things are looking pretty good for the future of The Horseshoe Tour! Thanks again to all who’ve helped us along the way… we owe it all to you!
Horseshoe Tour President