You mean that grown-up people throw rocks at a river and count how many times the rock jumps and compete against each other to see who can skip the most times? Yes.
Does this alleged "pro tour" include several former Guinness World Record holders, including the current one? Yes.
Can kids play too? Yes.
Last Saturday, Benny dragged us to the International Stone Skipping Pro Tour (stops include Mackinac Island, MI and Franklin, PA and... well, that's it) down at the river side in nearby Franklin. Benny is a big fan of the Guinness Book of World Records. Franklin is hometown to Russ Byars, current world record holder (51 skips!) and a man who carries his own signable cardstock pictures, and isn't afraid to get his feet wet helping a kid with his technique. Benny brought a rock from our creek for him to sign, which he did. He told Benny that skipping stones is all about spin and speed. Sounds logical. Easier said than done, though! Benny's top score was 3.
ESPN was there. Those white little legs under the green shirt are Benny's, partially blocked by the guy with the boom mike. Maybe he was leaning in to catch the THWACK of the rock as it hit the water? Or would that be the gerplunk:
A crowd gathers to see a man dressed as Edwin Drake (who discovered oil in this region, 150 years ago) throw out the ceremonial first stone:
Here's Benny studying his rock carefully:
Here's running from the camera crew:
I didn't take enough pictures of the crowd, or the festival that surrounded it, nor did I take video of the goofy announcer entertaining us, or the pro competitors taunting each other, the enthusiastic cheers when someone made it over 30 skips, or the polite golf claps when someone "gerplunked."
One of the competitors was an anchorperson from CBS Sunday Morning. Between that camera crew and the ESPN people, it felt almost surreal. Franklin, PA is not accustomed to such scrutiny, of late.
This one had a good time:
This one is still practicing:
For more of my pictures, click here: the unlikely but entertaining Franklin PA Stone Skipping Tournament.
Here's a page of official pictures, to give you a better idea of the scene, the crowd, the pros, and the river madness in general: Pa Stone Skipping Tournament