The United States Quoiting Association would like to recognize Troy Frey for providing the information and the links on this page. Troy's research, dedication and time to the sport is greatly appreciated.
The USQA was created in April of 2003 by members of three separate Quoiting groups in Southeastern Pennsylvania. The idea for starting the association was borne from the desire to bring together, into one organized body, all quoit players and Quoiting groups in North America who enjoyed pitching Traditional American Quoits - that being the standard, outdoor version played with 4-pound steel quoits pitched at 4-inch pins in dirt or clay-filled pits. Ken Kaas of Boyertown, Willie Wandress of Downingtown, and Troy Frey of Lancaster were instrumental in forming the beginnings of this new association.
At the time, Troy Frey was maintaining a small Internet site about his somewhat unusual hobby of Quoit Pitching. When he first created the site in 1999, he decided to name it "The Quoit Pits," and registered the URL QUOITPITS.COM. He originally created the site as a means to post digital photographs of his friends as they entertained themselves pitching quoits in his backyard. The small group of friends, co-workers, and neighbors formed an informal quoiting club, calling themselves "The Pitching Dutchmen," a tongue-in-cheek reference to the "Pennsylvania Dutch" or Amish heritage of Lancaster County. Many photos of the group's pitching antics were posted on the website, and humorous captions were added to make the website entertaining to anyone who happened to stumble across it. Troy later added some detailed pages on the site covering quoits history, pit construction, and some basic rules. Slowly, other quoit players discovered and began frequenting the site - not surprising since it was then one of only 3 websites dedicated to the Game of Quoits on the entire Internet, and the only site based in the United States.
One of those avid quoit players who found The Quoit Pits Web site was Willie Wandress. He contacted Troy in the Fall of 2002 and started a dialogue with him about the small local Quoit tournaments regularly held in the Pottstown, PA area, about an hour's drive from where Troy lived. Willie invited Troy to come to the Fall tournament being held just outside Pottstown at Karl Smith's house. It was there that Troy met Ken Kaas, a close friend of Willie's who had already been organizing volleyball and quoit tournaments in and around Pottstown since 1991. While socializing at the tournament they discussed how enjoyable it was to pitch quoits competitively, especially when everyone paid a small entry fee for a chance to win cash prizes for their efforts. They all agreed there ought to be more quoit tournaments similar to the private ones Ken was already organizing, perhaps on an even larger scale and open to the general quoiting public. They also noted how the Game of Quoits had actually become quite localized and a very obscure game to most people in modern-day America. After talking and making plans over the Winter months, the three enthusiasts decided to work together to do something constructive about it. Thus, in early spring of 2003, the USQA was born.
The QUOITPITS.COM Web site was gradually expanded to include information on many of the quoiting events held in the Pottstown area. Many new pages were added to the site covering the USQA and their efforts to expand the sport, other quoit clubs and groups who held annual tournaments, different versions of quoits, and newspaper articles and other media coverage of the game. To better fit the comprehensiveness of the site, a new name and URL was given to the website - QUOITS.INFO. Eventually, the site grew to almost 75 pages of quoiting information, becoming so large in scope that a need arose to separate all USQA-related information from the more general Traditional American Quoits pages. As a result, a new, sister site was setup in February of 2005 - USQA.ORG - the site you are currently viewing. Together, these two sites work hand-in-hand to bring quoits enthusiasts everything they need to know about what is currently developing in the newly-revived sport of Quoit Pitching here in North America.
The foundations of the United States Quoiting Association were structured with these 6 major objectives in mind:
To make aware and bring together all the scattered pockets of quoit pitchers and quoiting groups in North America, and foster organized competition between them;
To publicize the game, educate those who are unfamiliar with the game, spread general interest, and ultimately attract more active and competitive players into the ranks;
To establish a formal governing body for the sport, which has never had a ruling organization or regulatory committee presiding specifically over Quoits in past history;
To standardize, organize, and qualify the Modern Rules for Standard American Quoits in North America, so they will be more uniform and consistent among quoiting groups;
To create an atmosphere of entertainment, camaraderie, and friendly competition among quoit players from all walks of life - men and women, young and old, rich and poor;
To finally provide some purpose to the sport by organizing an annual Quoiting Championship - the ultimate goal of achievement for all competitive quoit players!
TRADITIONAL AMERICAN QUOITS - AN INTRODUCTION
QUOITS: (Formally pronounced koits or kwoits but commonly pronounced kwaits here in Pennsylvania)
An ancient throwing game in which heavy metal rings are tossed underhanded, or pitched, at short metal stakes driven into the ground. The Game of Quoits is the predecessor to, and the original form of, the more widely known game of Horseshoe Pitching. Until about 1930, Quoits were by far the predominantly played of the two games in America, being a popular pastime played all across the Country, from East Coast to West Coast.
Today In the United States, Quoits is still a popular game, but only in a few, isolated areas in the East, mainly Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey. The game originally came to America in the 1700's with the early settlers from England, but once here it evolved into a much different format than the original English and Scottish versions it originated from. This American adaptation is now referred to as Traditional American Quoits. In turn, a few other American-bred variations of Quoits spawned out of the Traditional American Game; these include Trenton Style, Slate Board, and Beach Quoits.
Traditional American Quoits and English Quoits are NOT the same game, and are played differently. It is important to understand that modern American quoits are a somewhat scaled-down version of the English game. To Illustrate this in a quick and easy manner, below is a simple table comparing English and Scottish Quoits to American quoits, along with the other most popular American variations:
THE 3 AMERICAN QUOIT VERSIONS - TRADITIONAL, TRENTON, AND SLATE-BOARD
Traditional American Quoits - The Original Iron Quoits Played Across America. Since the introduction of Quoits to America by British settlers during early Colonial times, the Traditional style of American Quoits has existed as a chunky, 6 inch diameter iron ring weighing 3 or 4 pounds, with a small, maximum 3-inch diameter hole. Lighter sets of iron Quoits weighing 1 to 3 pounds each and having even smaller holes were somewhat less common. Many old sets of these original quoits can still be found, mainly in eastern parts of the United States, at antique stores, public auctions, flea markets, or stored away and long-forgotten in grandparent's attics or garages. Traditional American Quoits are basically a slightly smaller but similarly-proportioned version of the heavier 5 to 8 pound quoits pitched in Britain since the Middle Ages. This version is also the most widely-spread style of quoit, having been played, at one time or another, all across North America. Many 19th and early 20th Century sporting books, manuals, and game catalogs have commonly documented this style of quoits in their Illustrations and advertisements for sale.
Two Regional Variations of the Traditional Quoit. Two other popular adaptations of the Traditional American Quoit also survived to the present day, but are only indigenous to small, localized regions in Eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To their own right, each has a colorful history and a small but avid following. Unlike Traditional Quoits, which prospered over most of the US, these two unique pitching games never spread beyond their respective local areas, but still flourish as very popular and competitive adult games in the communities where they are played. Both of these quoit versions are featured on their own dedicated pages on this website via the links at the bottom of this section.
Trenton Style Quoits are native to a small region of central New Jersey, especially in and around the city of Trenton itself. They are made of steel, but are much thinner and flatter than a traditional Quoit. Trenton Quoits are sized and weighted similar to Horseshoes - 2 1/2 pounds, about 7.5" in diameter, with a very large 5" center hole.
Rubber Slate-Board Quoits is a very popular league sport in bars and homes of the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania. This game uses 1 pound rubber quoits, slightly smaller in dimensions to their Traditional American cousins, which are pitched at short metal pins mounted on very heavy 24x24x1 inch slabs of Pennsylvania Slate quarried from the local area.
Many other types of Quoits or Quoit-related games do exist, constructed of soft rubber, rope, wood, and even plastic, in various sizes and shapes. These games are generally marketed for indoor or recreational family and children's play. In addition, antique sets of wall-mounted quoit boards and table quoits were once popular indoor games, especially in Britain. They required a player to toss small rubber or metal rings at a vertical or horizontal board containing multiple hooks or pegs of varying point values.
OFFICIAL QUOIT RULES, WHERE TO BUY, SETTING UP PITS, FOUNDRY TOUR
Pitching Quoits is uniquely different from pitching Horseshoes. Traditional American Quoits are smaller in size but much heavier than a Horseshoe, and are tossed underhand into 'pits' - wooden boxes set in the ground and filled with soft clay - at a 4" high Hob or pin centered in the pit. Although Horseshoe pitching evolved from the game of Quoits, and both games are played with similar rules, Quoits requires a somewhat different mindset and a tactical approach to pitching. Whereas Horseshoes is mainly a game where players attempt to pitch repeated ringers for points, Quoits becomes more a game of strategy and placement. In Quoits, there is far less emphasis on ringers but a greater importance on blocking, pushing away, or knocking over your opponent's quoits to win points. Defensive play is minimal in Horseshoes, but is a very prominent element of Quoits. In the Getting Started with Traditional American Quoits section below, the Quoit Pit Layout page illustrates the different styles of pits that can be constructed, and court dimensions for installing your own pits.
Quoits is a game of millimeters. Modern-day Quoits are pitched a distance of 21 Feet pin-to-pin, in comparison to a 40 Foot pitch for Horseshoes. Quoits requires much less area to play, making it an attractive alternative to Horseshoes pitching, especially in locations that do not have the large area of open, level ground Horseshoes require. But, because of the shorter distance and the strategies involved, quoits inevitably end up crowded around the pin and buried into the clay. Exact measurements are frequently needed to determine which team's quoit is actually closest to the pin. The best tool for this job is a machinist's adjustable Dividers (also called a Compass) - the proper, historical accessory that should be present at all quoit pitches. Dividers are hinged, V-shaped tools having two straight metal legs, with pointed tips that can be easily adjusted and set to any fixed width; they are generally used for marking and scribing circles. Some people refer to these as Calipers, but technically, Calipers have curved legs with blunt tips facing inward or outward, while dividers have the straight legs with sharp downward-pointing tips. Dividers are definitely a necessity when gauging the extremely close distances so very common during tough competition!
Sorry, but you can't buy Quoits at Wal-Mart! The original Iron Quoits of colonial America are now cast in foundries using one of several metals, including Iron, Steel, Brass, and Bronze. A half-Century ago, Iron Quoits were still manufactured and distributed nationally by sporting goods Companies such as Spalding's, and were regularly sold in stores and sporting goods catalogs. Today, you can still purchase a commercially-made set of Horseshoes at almost any store that sells backyard sports equipment, but unfortunately, traditional Quoits are no longer commercially produced or nationally distributed. Quoits of today must be specially ordered and crafted at a metal foundry, usually after the customer has paid for the design and construction of a casting form at their own expense. Only a handful of small foundries in Eastern Pennsylvania currently get regular orders to produce traditional Quoits, making small batches for some of the local retail outlets in those areas where Quoit pitching is still popular. Retail Quoit Sources link below includes a list of hardware and sporting goods stores in Eastern PA that usually stock foundry-made quoits, in varying weights of brass, bronze, or steel, along with their addresses and telephone numbers.
What they Look Like & Which Kind to Buy
QUOITS - THEIR ORIGINS, HISTORY, AND HOW THEY CAME TO AMERICA
The origins of the Quoit can be traced back to the very ancient Chakram, a ring-shaped metal blade used as a weapon of war, and later in history, to the Discus throw of the ancient Greek Olympics. The Discus was also referred to as a Quoit in many Greek writings and mythological tales. In its original form it was a flat, tapered disk made of stone, iron, or bronze. The Discus was by far the most popular event of the Olympic games, so many spectators who watched the athletes perform the Discus throw in competition eagerly sought to imitate the sport at home. Those who were wealthy paid to have custom iron or bronze disks or rings made for their personal use; others who could not afford the expense made do with objects they could find or craft themselves.
At some undocumented point in history, stakes in the ground were added to change the Game from one of distance to one of accuracy. During the period of the Roman conquest of Europe, the Romans shod their warhorses with circular rings of iron weighing about 4 pounds apiece. These "shoes" were not nailed to the horses' hooves but rather were strapped to them with leather thongs. The rings were a fair imitation of a Discus or Quoit, so the soldiers began tossing the worn-out shoes in their leisure time. When horseshoes later developed into the open U-shape familiar now, the soldiers would either bend them into crude rings or just pitch them as they were. Thus, Horseshoes became the economical substitute for soldiers and commoners who did not have access to the expensive, forged sets of Quoits.
The Roman conquest brought Quoits to Britain, and by the 1300 s the game became a hugely popular pastime there, especially among English Noblemen. British settlers eventually brought Quoits to America in the late 1600's, where it flourished throughout the Colonies. Just as in Britain, quoits in America were played by both elitists and commoners alike. Quoits remained a favorite game in the eastern part of the country, while the settlers moving westward, with their natural dependency on horses, made Horseshoe pitching a popular game in the Midwest. By the early 1900 s, New York, Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Newark, Paterson, Fall River, Providence, and other New England cities were host to the best Quoiting facilities and the top players in the East, while Chicago, St. Louis, Denver and San Francisco were highly competitive Quoiting areas in the West.
Then, in 1920, an unknown Horseshoe pitcher discovered a technique that enabled him to throw consistent and repeated ringers with standard pitching Horseshoes. The rookie pitcher entered and easily won that year s national Horseshoe competition, becoming infamous overnight. Soon everyone excitedly swarmed to the game of Horseshoe pitching to learn how to master the ringer pitch themselves. This was a major blow to the popularity of Quoits in America, causing a slow but steady decline of active players throughout the remainder of the 20th Century. Today, Horseshoes continue to be played by millions of people, but Quoit pitching has become a fairly obscure oddity. Only a handful of areas in the North-East United States continue to keep the game popular as a competitive sport.
MORE DETAILED HISTORY OF QUOITS Chackram and
QUOITING CLUBS, GROUPS, AND TOURNAMENTS IN NORTH AMERICA
The growth and popularity of Horseshoe pitching since the 1920's has overshadowed the now seemingly 'obscure' game of Quoits, but in Eastern Pennsylvania and parts of New York and New Jersey the game is still played by many small groups of dedicated quoit pitchers. The pages below each highlight a Quoiting Club, public Tournament, private Invitational, or just a group of friends and family who host an annual or regular pitching event anywhere across America.
The following links are the result of people taking digital photographs of their event and sending them to us.
DUTCHMEN QUOIT CLUB Lancaster, PA
East Coventry 724
Invitationals - Pottstown PA
INCREASING PUBLIC AWARENESS TO QUOITS THROUGH THE MEDIA
Public coverage of quoits in the printed and video media, along with the presence of the media at local quoit tournaments, has been helping the USQA spread awareness of the game to more people than could be reached with the website alone. Below are pages with newspaper and magazine reprints, and short video clips from television news broadcasts, all reporting on the Game of Quoits as an inviting recreational sport, or else focusing on a specific local Quoiting event. The more media coverage our sport attracts, the more public awareness we will certainly generate; and hopefully, the more active quoit players we can continue to recruit into the sport!
Standard American Quoits