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Tossing shoes with a legend at Coonskin Park

By Caitlin Cook, Staff writer

West Virginia football legend Randy Moss found himself in the losers’ bracket after throwing one round of horseshoes during the second Randy Moss “Country Boy” Horseshoe Tournament Saturday morning.

About 30 spectators watched as the Rand native and his horseshoes partner Michael Smith tried to climb their way out of the losers’ bracket at Coonskin Park.

Moss said everyone had practiced more than him but he still practiced a bit more than he did before last year’s tournament, and was hopeful he and Smith would turn their game around. He joked he had a much better partner this year, after partnering with Charleston Mayor Danny Jones last year.

Throughout the rounds, Moss interacted with the crowd, encouraged other players and talked a little trash.

“What you got bro?” Moss taunted. “I’m hunting now!”

Often Moss’ throws had a bit too much strength behind them.

“We lost the first round but we are going to pick it up,” Smith said. “We are going to come out of this losers’ bracket — it’s war now.”

Moss said there was a buzz after last year’s tournament. Some of the participants asked him to host another horseshoe event just a few months after the first, but Moss wanted to give last year’s champions time to enjoy their victory.

The event is about bringing the community together with music, friendly conversation and good food, Moss said. Participants also had a chance to win a $1,000 first place prize, again put up by Moss.

“If nothing else, it’s the comradery, guys just getting to know other people,” Moss said. “It’s just having a good time. That is what this is about.”

Throughout the year, Moss said he tries to return to the Kanawha Valley and visit with familiar faces and meet new ones. He added it’s always a good feeling when the community comes to support an event like Saturday’s tournament.

“I try not to hide when I am here in West Virginia, whoever I see, I see and whoever I don’t, I apologize,” Moss said. “I represent Rand, West Virginia, and most of the time that’s where I hang out.”

Now Moss’ days center more on the sidelines of football. He is commentating for Fox Sports and coaching high school football in North Carolina.

Coaching is a different experience for Moss.

“Now I am out of the helmet and shoulder pads,” he said. “Now I am a teacher.”

Moss likened his 15 years playing in the NFL to going back to school as a student of the game.

“That’s a good thing,” Moss said. “Now I am able to teach the guys really how to play the game of football the way I see it and hopefully everything works out.”

Moss admitted it was a bit overwhelming to see what all goes on during sports commentating.

“There are a lot of things we don’t see watching the television the goes on behind the scenes,” he said. “What goes on during the commercials is what really caught my eye.”

For his first interview, Moss got out of the studio to interview Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall who he described as a talented and likable player.

“I’ve had (interviews) done to me so many times,” Moss said. “Now that I am able to interview somebody it was kind of weird but I enjoyed it — just chopping it up a bit.”

Reach Caitlin Cook

at caitlin.cook@wvgazette.com

or 304-248-5113.


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