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In only her second appearance, UNC Housekeeping Services’ Shernetta Edwards won the Women’s Class C Championship in the 2011 World Horseshoe Tournament on July 30.

Hosted by the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association of America, the tournament drew more than 900 competitors from every state in the nation and countries from around the globe for the two-week competition. Edwards was the first African-American woman to represent North Carolina in the 2010 world horseshoes competition, and this year’s victory makes her the first African-American woman to win a world championship for North Carolina.

Edwards’ story is even more remarkable considering she began competing formally less than two years ago. Clifton Jones, a mason from Facilities Services’ Masonry Shop, saw Edwards pitching horseshoes during Facilities Services’ annual employee appreciation day two summers ago. The veteran pitcher instantly recognized that she was a natural “ringer.” While Jones has competed professionally for more than 20 years at the national level and in four world tournaments, Edwards developed her skills solely from playing in backyard games over the years.

Jones encouraged her to join his local league and the two began training and competing together in area competitions. He even built a regulation-size horseshoe pit for Edwards in her backyard so she could practice anytime.

According to Jones, most people never achieve the level of success Edwards has achieved in just two years. And for those that do, it usually comes after some 30 years of competing.

For her victory, Edwards was awarded a trophy and cash prize, and her name will also go on a brick at the Horseshoe Pitchers Hall of Fame in St. Louis, Mo. Jones finished sixth in his class, and was proud to have also earned a cut of the prize money.

Both Edwards and Jones took an immense amount of pride in representing the University during the international event. Edwards was decked out in Carolina blue throughout the competition and also when she was crowned Women’s Class C Champion.

She noted that it made it even a little bit sweeter to be named champion in Louisiana – the site of two UNC men’s basketball National Championship victories.