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Throwing Horseshoes with Alan Francis, the Ringer

Alan Francis prepares to throw a horseshoe at the 2009 championships in Springfield, Ill. AP Photo

Jeff Glor is the Anchor of the CBS Evening News, Saturday Edition.

"I just want to keep getting better."

That was Alan Francis's answer when I asked him what his horseshoe-pitching goals are, long term.

It's hard to believe there's much room for improvement.

Francis has won 15 world titles in horseshoes, including the last 7 in a row. His ringer percentage rate is nearly 90 percent.

Think about that for a second.

You've probably thrown a horseshoe before, at some backyard BBQ or a company picnic. You know it's not easy, getting a two pound piece of bended metal near a stake from 40 feet away, never mind getting it to ring around the pole.

Francis estimates the average casual horseshoe player gets a ringer between 1 and 3 percent percent of the time. Again, Francis... is near 90.

The New York Times called him "perhaps the most dominant athlete in any sport in the country." He has a Topps playing card. He gets tracked down by autograph seekers. He is the greatest "pitcher" in history.

Yet he still lives in a modest ranch house on a sleepy suburban street in a town called Defiance, Ohio. We went to visit him this week, and it was a fascinating glimpse into the life of a super athlete who's anything but a superstar.

His day job is purchasing manager at a small printing shop in town. He has a wife and a six-year old son. He drives a pick-up truck. He's hoping he can put together the money to pay for his annual family vacation this year - a trip to the horseshoe pitching world championships - by simply winning the event. No pressure, of course.

I hope you can join us Saturday evening for a special Weekend Journal featuring Alan Francis, the best there ever was. I think you'll find his story pretty fascinating.

If not, you can always laugh at the way the correspondent pitches shoes.

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