Mackinac Island 2019 Stone Skipping Championship
A funny thing happened on the way to the 51st annual Mackinac Island Stone Skipping and Gerplunking Championship (MISS&GC) at Mackinac Island,on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Just kidding, I just drove a long, long way.
But it was worth it to attend such a historic event on such a beautiful place.
History of MISS&GCThe MISS&GC was started in 1969 by a man named Bill Rabe (Ray-Bee). He is somewhat of a local legend and hero to the Yoopers. Not only did he found the Stone Skipping tournament, but he also started a group called Unicorn Hunters (which means something totally different today) and started a Snowman Burning Day to celebrate the first day of spring. Bill was the director for the first 23 years of the competition until his passing and was the first inductee for the Stone Skipping Hall of Fame. Which is a thing.
On Mackinac Island
Mackinac Island is awesome. It’s beautiful and has a cool old school feel to it.. One interesting bit about it is that there are no cars allowed on the island! Motor vehicles were restricted at the end of the nineteenth century because of concerns for the health and safety of the island's residents and horses after local carriage drivers complained that automobiles startled their horses. It’s all horses and bicycles.
There were a couple neat things going on at the competition. You may have noticed the “G” in MISS&GC and wondered about that. That G is for Gerplunking and is the little, little kids division of Stone Skipping. It’s dropping stones in the water and seeing which makes the best “gerplunk” sound. Super cute. Second thing: playing for fudge. Yes, indeed the winner of the Open/Am division stands to win a years supply of fudge. And they aren’t kidding. Winner could get four pounds of fudge mailed each month for 12 months. That’s a lot of fudge! The winner of this division was given the choice: fudge or play against the pros. On this day the Am winner - Dana Olson Blub who won with 17 skips - chose to go against the pros.
Speaking of pros, here was the lineup:
Kurt “Mountainman” Steiner
Justin “Bugsy” Sailer
Matt “The Maniac” Lenhart
Glen “Hard Luck” Loy
Dave “Skip” Loy (who’s grandson won the gerplunk)
Max “Top Gun” Steiner
Mike “Airtight Alibi” Williamson
Bate “NatedDogg” Rango from SF
Dana Olson - the amateur
Quite a line up! And to make it even more interesting, ESPN3 was there with cameras and legit announcers! It will be broadcast on ESPN’ The Ocho on August 8th.
It was a lot of fun watching the pros from the comfort of the patio of the Hotel Iroquois right next door. Conditions were decent. A bit windy and choppy, but there were some great throws. It was really an exciting match! Great to watch Kurt “The Mountainman” Steiner throw in real life. By the end of it the winner was Max Steiner with 20 skips!
Afterwards I sat down with Matt and Kurt to get their take on things. Enjoy!