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Golden Horseshoe Reunion part of West Virginia Day celebrations at state Capitol

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — All current and past Golden Horseshoe Award winners were honored Monday during the West Virginia Day celebration at the state’s Culture Center.

The Golden Horseshoe test is based on the history and culture of West Virginia. The top scoring eighth graders from each county in the state receive the prestigious award and are inducted as knights and ladies of the Golden Horseshoe Society.

Since 1931, there have been over 15,000 award winners. Monday’s special reunion honored around 100 award winners.

The event was hosted by Gov. Jim Justice and First Lady Cathy Justice, along with the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History (WVDACH).

The oldest Golden Horseshoe recipient in attendance was James ‘Jim’ Piercy, 88, who earned the award in 1947. He said he remains proud of his accomplishment.

“I’m so proud of my Golden Horseshoe, I have kept it my whole life. It’s my recognition for West Virginia history,” Piercy said. “I love West Virginia. I was born here, I was raised here, and I’m going to die here. I think it’s a great place to live.”

Amy Westfall Witschey 1986 award winner said West Virginia Day and the Golden Horsehoe are ways she can honor her father.

“We are here because our dad absolutely loved West Virginia, West Virginia Day was like a holiday for him. It’s also close to Fathers Day, so it’s a way to honor him,” said Witschey. “He was so proud when I won the award.”

Gov. Jim Justice was inducted has an honorary Knight of the Golden Horseshoe Society during the reunion and announced that this reunion will be an annual event.

Story by Chayce Matheny

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