History of Quoits

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.

 

Our Beginnings

 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.

 

Our Websites

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.

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.

Versions of Quoits Played in North America and Around the World

North American Quoits

TRADITIONAL AMERICIAN QUOITS    Iron, Steel, Brass, or Bronze

TRENTON STYLE QUOITS   Thin, hoop-shaped steel quoits

BLACK RUBBER QUOITS   16 oz. League Quoits and Slate Boards

RED RUBBER BEACH QUOITS    8 oz. Soft Rubber Quoits for Sand 

English Quoits

SCOTTISH QUOITS   The Long Game Played in Scotland & Wales  

THE NORTHERN GAME   Played in England

ROPE AND DECK  QUOITS  Popular on Ship Decks and in Australia

Other Quoit-Related Games

WASHERS  A portable Quoits-type game using 3-inch steel washers

TEXAS HORSESHOES?  A Humorous Take on the Game!

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