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'Boomerang' Bartz Wins Pit Spit Championship in Eau Claire

Published: Friday, July 12, 2019

Minimal training and a well-rested spitter seemed to be the winning formula for Kevin "Boomerang" Bartz, this year's champion at the International Cherry Pit Spitting Contest. The contest was held last Saturday at Tree-Mendus Fruit Farm, near Eau Claire. Bartz bested runnerup Kevin Hester by little more than 3 feet and easily defeated third place finisher and 18-time winner Rick "Pellet Gun" Krause.

Bartz's winning distance was 58 feet 3¼ inch. Although his last win was in 2015, Bartz is no stranger to the world of spitting cherry pits.

Bartz began spitting as a youth in 1977, the same year his father, Richard, captured the title. Kevin spit his way to his first win in the 1979 youth division contest. Good cherry pit spitters run in the family because Kevin's daughter joined her father as the women's division winner. The Bartz dynasty own 16 titles among the three generations.

Another family that believes in the motto "a family who spits and prays together stays together" is the Hester family. Championship runnerup Kevin Hester happens to be a local pastor, and all of his family participated in the pit spit. His son, Joshua, was the Youth 9- to 12-year-old age group, winner.

Other youth winners were: Evangeline Smith in the 6- to 8-year-old group and Drake McLaughlin topped the under-5 category.

Eau Claire village president John Glassman out-spit a number of seasoned competitors in the dignitary division. He nabbed local bragging rights by spitting a Montmorency cherry pit nearly 37 feet.

The rules for the contest are very specific. For example, the Montmorency cherry is the official cherry for the contest. Other rules include cooling the cherry pit to a temperature between 55 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. No dentures are allowed and the arms must be kept below the shoulder. The rules for the event had to be codified before results could be counted in the Guinness Book of World Records. The current record of 93 feet 6 ½ inches is held by Pellet Gun's son, Brian "BB Gun" Krause.

Herb Teichman was the man who dreamed up the competition. The first cherry pit spit was held in 1974 as way to publicize the farm and have fun. Unfortunately, he passed away this past January. Before the pit spit began, his daughter, Lynn Teichman Sage, held a moment of silence and shared a few memories.

"Dad always said that it's a nutritious sport. What else do you do with a cherry pit but spit it? He was always so glad to have us eat cherries and spit those pits, whether it be out in the orchard, on the court or in the backyard," said Sage.

She invited everyone to eat a cherry and spit a pit after the competition was completed as a way to remember and honor her father. Sage added that Herb would have said it would be a "tree-mendus" thing to do.

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