Ruth Hangen

Horseshoe Pitching Champion

“Ringer Ruth” Hangen of Getzville, New York, has earned a well-deserved place in the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame by — what else — pitching horseshoes.

Born on Northampton Street in Buffalo in 1916, Hangen has been flipping a two and a half-pound metal horseshoe at a single stake thirty-feet away for over fifty years. Learning to pitch horseshoes from her husband Harry, she wouldn’t compete in tournaments for another twenty-five years after that. Once she started, however, the results were pretty convincing.

Her nickname – “Ringer Ruth” – is no accident. She once tossed 42 consecutive ringers in a tournament, a record which remained unbroken for twelve years until it was broken five years ago by a Canadian teenager who hit 54 in a row. Her tournament total of 95 percent ringers made the Guinness Book of Records in 1978.

A legend in the horseshoe pitching world, Hangen is the winner of five world titles (1970-73, 76), 10 Eastern Regional Championships and several other regional and senior titles.

In 1974, she was inducted into the New York State Horseshoe Hall of Fame. In 1975, after Hangen had become the first woman ever to win four consecutive titles, she was elected to the National Horseshoe Pitching Hall of Fame.

Even at the age of 75 (1992), Hangen was far from retired. She is a sixteen time Empire State Women’s Champion, winning the last five tournaments in a row. When she is not competing, Hangen teaches horseshoe throwing at the Amherst Senior Center and competes in the Lockport Women’s Weekly League, where she holds every record, even in the men’s league.

In 1992, Ruth Hangen became the first horseshoe pitcher ever inducted into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame.