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‘A guy thing’

Friends gather for 54th Waldhütte Stag

Photos courtesy of Waldhutte staggers The opening ceremonies of the 2018 Red Foxx Amateur Horseshoe Tournament during last year’s 53rd Waldhütte Stag in the Sheffield area.

This year marks the 54th year that a sort of pilgrimage takes place.

It’s a journey to a weekend destination that involves campfires, card games, playing pool, cooking wild game, a few libations, and even a horseshoe tournament.

Maybe not surprisingly, according to this year’s co-chair, Matt Lorz, “it’s kind of a guy thing.”

This week, 47 men from 16 states will leave the real world behind to gather in “suburban Brookston” in the Sheffield area for the 54th Annual Waldhütte Stag and the 29th Annual Red Foxx Amateur Horseshoe Tournament.

The initial event had just seven or eight attendees, according to Lorz.

Photos courtesy of Waldhutte staggers Photo from the 1993 Waldhütte Stag gathering in Sheffield.

“Family members started inviting friends and the Waldhütte Stag was born,” he said. “Whether they come from the Pacific or Atlantic coast or somewhere in between, they all know to turn off PA 948 at Fork Run Road and drive until they see the ‘Lorz” sign with the red arrow.

“My great grandfather Frederick Lorz was born in Germany and ran a tailor shop in Meadville, Pa., where he raised his family,” Lorz said. “”My uncle Ted Lorz bought this cabin along the south branch of the Tionesta River and named it Waldhutte, which is German for ‘little house in the forest.'”

The “little cabin” is actually a pretty good size, according to Lorz. Still, 47 men in one cabin might create a scene reminiscent of The Seven Dwarfs — on steroids.

Lorz said all 47 men don’t plan on bunking together in the cabin.

“We have a bunk house that sleeps about 40,” he said.

Photos courtesy of Waldhutte staggers The 2018 Red Foxx Amateur Horseshoe Tournament champions from left, Clay Byford of Washington, D.C. and Chris Maynard of Columbus, OH.

However, similarly to the dwarfs, a long-time tradition of male gatherings leads to nicknames. Lorz wasn’t certain of all alternate weekend names that have been bestowed throughout the years, but he recalled one — “There is a guy called Spud. I don’t know why.”

This year could bring a new nickname tradition. An internet search revealed that just like the number of men attending, the Disney writing team had exactly 47 possible dwarf names to choose from. Imagine if Bashful was instead Dippy, Dopey was Hotsy, Grumpy was Baldy, Happy was Burpy, Sleepy was Jumpy, Sneezy was Wheezy, and Doc was Biggo-Ego.

If anyone does earn the name Biggo-Ego, it could be the winner of the Stag Trophy and the camel winner’s jacket. The top prize of the annual horseshoe tournament includes a spiffy tan “jacket” some might call a blazer.

This year marks the dedication of the horseshoe courts in memory of “Real” Mike Lorz, of Chicago, who frequently won both.

Lorz and event co-chair, Brian Hill, have already been out and about in the community checking out the local cuisine — another tradition.

“We always meet a lot of friendly people at the Lee House, the Shaw House, Peterson’s Hardware, Tops Market, and the Johnny Appleseed Festival,” Lorz said. “So, if any area residents (remember, it’s a guy thing) want to join us for a beverage and some camaraderie, we welcome you. Stop by any time Friday or Saturday and say hello.”

The horseshoe tournament is weather-dependent, according to Lorz. He estimated a start time of between 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday.

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