Historian Henry Louis Gates calls it the Nobel Prize for 8th graders in West Virginia. Winners successfully answer a rigorous test about West Virginia history, culture and traditions. Only 211 winners from across the state make the grade. They are dubbed knights and ladies of the Golden Horseshoe at an impressive ceremony in Charleston WV, the state capital.
Henry Gates is himself a Golden Horseshoe winner (he grew up in Piedmont, WV) . His older brother won it too but because all the hotels in the state capital were segregated at the time, state officials did not let him know he won.
The attached video is my conversation with Carol Vogler, the mother of two Golden Horseshoe winners, but as she explains in the video she could not participate as an 8th grader, a fact she regrets to this very day. Enjoy!