Conway Springs dedicates horseshoe pit


By Michelle Leidy-Franklin

CONWAY SPRINGS – A plaque and bench have been installed at the Conway Springs new horseshoe pit dedicated to the memory of Bill May. Bill and his wife, Janice, had a long community history of hosting annual horseshoe tournaments.
Shelly Lackey, one of the May’s two daughters, has many fond memories of the family tournaments.
“This wasn’t just your ordinary, everyday tournament. We are talking official invites, a tournament bracket, three pits going at one time, 25-30 teams, trophies, cash prizes and sometimes even T-shirts. Some of our themes over the years have been Crazy Hat, Halloween, Hillbilly, and 80’s. The 80’s theme had to be one of my all-time favorites. We had a live band there also playing 1980s hits all night. It was unforgettable,” said Lackey.
In 2008, Janice began organizing silent auctions for the tournaments to help benefit the Light the Night event to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The May family had lost family members to leukemia in prior years.
In recent years, the May family had not been able to host the tournaments, but when Bret Martin decided to build the new horseshoe pit in Conway Springs’ Central Park, he knew it needed to be dedicated to Bill May.
“When Dad passed, Bret wanted to know if it was okay if we honored my dad with a plaque at the horseshoe pits at the park. We were overjoyed, and said absolutely,” said May’s daughter, Angie Mooneyham.
Bret Martin and a close friend of Lackey’s, Tracee Friess, teamed up to dedicate the horseshoe park to May. Friess organized a Go Fund Me page for the plaque and received an overwhelming response. Within two days, the goal to purchase the plaque was met.

After receiving such support, Friess returned to the page to ask for help getting a blue bench to dedicate as well. The funds for the bench were received within a day.
“I am humbled by our generous and supportive community. I hope the horseshoe pits are enjoyed for years and years to come,” said Mooneyham in a Facebook statement about the dedication.
Lackey said there had been talk of having an annual Bill May Memorial Tournament, possibly coinciding with Conway Springs Fall Fest. She said her dad would be humbled by all of the support.
“I guess now would be the perfect opportunity to say, ‘If a guy could, he’d have a tournament every year at the park in honor of Bill,’” said Lackey reminiscing her dad’s famous line.