washersI’ve suffered a serious bout of spring fever this week, and the only thing to cure what’s ailing me is a game of washers.

gameplay3I was eight when we moved to St. Louis. That summer, we attended a small family gathering with some of my father’s cousins. Jerry had a washers set: a soup can nailed inside a wooden box lined with electric green astroturf. A set of brass and nickel washers set the teams apart. Everyone drank Budweiser. I drank Vess.


Missouri Washer Works explains the game’s rules:

The game can be played with two or more players, as long as the teams are even.

Boxes are placed 20 feet apart on a flat and level surface.
Players must stand behind the front edge of the box,
and toss each of his or her three washers (usually underhanded)
toward the opposite box. The next player then does the same.
The highest score wins the round.

Points are awarded as follows:
1 point for a washer that lands in the box
3 points for a washer that lands in the cup (a “cupper”)

Opposing washers in the box (or in the cup) cancel each other out.
Continue rounds until one player reaches 21 points.

In St. Louis, it’s as common to find a summer barbeque with a washer competition as it is to find a cooler full of Bud Light tallboys.

gameplay41If you’re feeling handy, build your own. Otherwise, buy one built in The Gateway City from Missouri Washer Works; while you’re at it, pick up some custom washers, c/o WasherPit. I’m happy to take on challengers far and wide. I’ll bring the gear. You bring your game face.


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4 responses to “Washers

  1. John Ahlers

    Max, GREAT POST! I’ve now lived many places, but grew up outside St. Louis. Despite my best attempts at conversion, it’s hard to find anyone who knows what washers is, let alone plays it.

    Instead, I get horseshoes or even worse, some godforsaken game called “cornhole” (I’m serious). Life isn’t fair sometime…

  2. james

    i was all mheh… but then you got me at “soup can”. for the man who has everything territory… awesome.

  3. Wow, never heard of Washers before. Looks fun. High Life and washers anyone?

  4. ineedahermida

    I love Washers! Growing up on the Jersey Shore we played all the time! It’s the poor mans horseshoes! We have an annual Washers Tournment every August, I’ll have to send you out an invite.

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