If World Champion Cherry Pit Spitter Rick Krause is going to continue his domination of the sport he really needs to consider contacting the County Clerk's office or whoever arranges for legal name changes to remove the "Pellet Gun" nickname from his biography and swap it out for "Top Gun" or "Rifle Shot" or something with a little higher caliber to match his prolific capabilities.
The 64 year old from Sanders, Arizona took the curious audience right down to the tripwire, on the brink of running out of ammo when he rallied on the very last spit of the day to take the championship belt once again, marking his 18th such victory in Michigan's Great Southwest at Tree-Mendus Fruit Farm near Eau Claire in the International Cherry Pit Spitting competition held there every July.
It all went down to the last spit of the day. Rick "Pellet Gun" Krause had already spat two of the allowed three pits, all short of Christina Preston’s up-until-then winning distance of 36’ 8-1/2”. Pellet Gun’s wife, Marlene “Machine Gun” Krause, had already successfully defended her 2017 Women’s Championship title with a spit of 29’ 10-1/2” to narrowly defeat Preston’s sister, 28-year old Chelsey Torres of Berrien Springs, by one-half inch.
The pressure was on for Krause. In one great “ptoey” against the gentle breeze, Pellet Gun let it fly to a comfortable 41’ 8-3/4” victory to also retain his championship title and claim his 18th world championship in cherry pit spitting at the 45th International Cherry Pit Spitting Championship held Saturday.
The 9-to-12 Year Old Youth Division was won by 11-year old Joshua Hester of Coloma, with a spit-acular 18’ 9-1/2” cherry pit spit. Meanwhile, 7-year old Ezekial Jones of St. Joseph took the Youth 6-8 year old contest with a 14’ 6-1/2” distance, and St. Julian winemaker Kyle Totzke of Paw Paw won the Dignitary Division with a spit of 33’ 7-1/2”.
The afternoon division and Championship contests include the top spitters (by distance) from the morning Qualification Round. After the Qualification Round closes at noon, contestants advance to the appropriate division. The youth divisions follow a dignitary spit-off. A women’s division is followed by the Championship. Historically, the Championship has been dominated by men.
Winners receive gift boxes supplied by the generous donations of local businesses, in addition to the fame and title-rights afforded each division.
Madeline Schrock of St. Joseph opened the festivities with the National Anthem, while Berrien County Trial Court Judges John Donahue and Sterling Schrock served as Official Timekeeper and Line Judge, respectively.
Berrien County Commissioner Jon Hinkelman of Watervliet, was the Height Measurement Judge. Leona Foster of Ann Arbor was the Distance Judge and Monica Teichman of Eau Claire was the Official Scorekeeper.
Miss Cherry Pit Spit - also known as Miss Eau Claire/Sodus and the First Runner Up to Miss Blossomtime – 18 year old Jamie Tidey of Berrien Center, spat the inaugural spit of 15’ 5”. Kim and Mary Foster served as Pit Sweepers. Kay McAdam from Cassopolis was the Spit-by-Spit Announcer, while Lynne Sage of Morrice, Michigan, was Master of Ceremonies.
The 46th International Cherry Pit Spitting Championship will be staged on July 6, 2019 at Tree-Mendus Fruit Farm in Eau Claire.
Tree-Mendus is a family-oriented, agri-tourism destination in Southwest Michigan. The farm features U-Pick fruit, family recreation, and a country store. For more information on this year’s event, visit www.treemendus-fruit.com or call 877-863-3276.
Here are the results from Saturday's Championship:
- Rick "Pellet Gun" Krause, 64 years old from Sanders, AZ -- 41' 8-3/4"
- Christina Preston, 22 years old from Dowagiac, MI -- 36' 8-1/2"
- Kevin Hester, 46 years old from Coloma, MI -- 32’ 6-1/4”
- Marlene Krause, 55 years old from Sanders, AZ -- 29’ 10-1/2”
- Chelsey Torres, 28 years old from Berrien Springs, MI -- 29’ 10”
Youth Division Ages 9-12:
- Joshua Hester, 11 years old from Coloma, MI -- 18’ 9-1/2”
Youth Division Ages 6-8:
- Ezekiel Jones, 7 years old from St. Joseph, MI -- 19' 2”
Youth Division 5 & Under:
- LuLu Jones, 5 years old from St. Joseph, MI -- 8' 7"
- Kyle Totzke, St. Julian Winemaker from Paw Paw, MI -- 33' 7-1/2”
Photo courtesy of Tree-Mendus Fruit Farm of Eau Claire, Michigan.