2018 Tournament Wrap Up
CONTACT: Gary Mueller, 414-899-6118 (cell)
Florida’s Fleck wins Record 10th National Open Endurance Title.
Saturday, despite almost perfect weather, the mile and a half figure eight on Peshtigo was mercilessly rough. With no wind to move the boat rollers and three towboats running at all times, Saturday didn’t see a single figure eight until the 187th run. Most coming in the quarterfinals and finals of the National Senior Division Championship. In all, only 6 pairs pulled off figure eights, with the longest run of the day coming between past champs, Marc Donahue (Indiana) and Jon DeBelak (Wisconsin) at 2-3/4 eights in the 3rd place contest. But the real drama came in the championship between perennial Senior champ, Pete Fleck (Florida) and Wayne Kind (Canada). After completing almost two eights, a tired King succumbed to the last set of boat rollers, making Pete Fleck the Senior National Champ for a record 7th time.
Sunday was a different story altogether. After rain delayed the event for more than an hour, the long runs came in bunches. Keith St. Onge (Florida), fresh off his Silver Overall finish at World’s, came out strong, as did Canada’s Wayne King, Wisconsin’s Ian Stapleton and Jon DeBelak – all pulling off multiple figure eight runs. But possibly the tournament’s biggest surprise was the gutsy showing of former US Team barefooter, Paul Stokes. After a 10-year hiatus from the event, Stokes powered his way to third place, while pulling off some of the biggest runs of the day, including taking down former National Open Champ, Jon DeBelak.
But in the end, like last year’s Open Championship, the final runs came down to Florida’s Keith St. Onge and Pete Fleck. With an earlier loss to Fleck, St Onge had to win twice to take the championship. The first run was an epic 2-3/4 eight battle that saw Fleck lose his grip. But after a short break, Fleck could not be denied and in the brutally rough water and after 2-2/3’s figure eights, it was St. Onge losing his grip and the handle, giving Fleck his record 10th Open National Endurance Championship.
“I gave it everything I had,” said a tired but elated Fleck, “As he pulled himself into the back of the boat. “I didn’t think I would make it through another set of rollers. ”
It was Fleck’s first Open championship in more than 3 years, as he has battled back and foot problems, including suffering a burn hole in heal from barefooting. But neither the burning pain in his feet or his exhausted forearms could take away from the taste of his tenth Open title. A feat that will likely never be matched.
“Pete Fleck is and will go down as the greatest endurance barefooter in the history of the sport,” said legendary Footstock announcer, Dave Mueller. “He just doesn’t like to lose.”
A record 155 barefooters competed in the grueling, two-day championship title-sponsored by Footin.com. And over 365 runs were pulled. While over $,9000 in prize money was handed out to the winners. Including a $2300 bonus to Fleck for competing all weekend without wetsuit and simply wearing a Footin.com vest.
On the women’s side of the Championship, Katina Davis from Australia, in only her second Footstock competition, took home the Women’s National Championship, beating Cayla Fritz (Wisconsin). Katina also handed out the weekend’s only “Pink Shirt,” beating one man in the Open Division.
In the Junior’s Division, Wisconsin’s Cale Ducane made a strong showing beating both last year’s runner-up, Andrew Puissant (Wisconsin) and Ian Burke (Missouri).
And in the Master’s Division, Mike Netzer, at the age of 63, took down perennial champion, Bob Mahnke (Wisconsin) and surprising newcomer Joe Smith (Illinois).
One of the most interesting sidebars to the championship was the addition of Footin.com and Akros.TV’s Live Feed of the event which was streamed online during the championship. With 7 cameras covering the event, spectators for the first time got to see up close and personal what the barefooters had to endure on the grueling figure eight course. Fans were packed under the tournament’s big tent watching all weekend. And there were over 100,000 views online during the two day tourney.
# # #
2018 Footin.com National Figure Eight Barefoot Championships Official Results
1st Pete Fleck (Florida)
2nd Keith St. Onge (Florida)
3rd Paul Stokes (Wisconsin)
4th Jon DeBelak (Wisconsin)
5th Ian Stapleman (Wisconsin)
6th Wayne King (Canada)
7th Kelly Wieringa (Michigan)
8th Joe Coda (Wisconsin)
9th Brad Pylman (Michigan)
10th Paul Miller (Indiana))
11th Mark Mahan (Wisconsin)
12th Brody Meskers (Wisconsin)
13thh Nate Birchler (Wisconsin)
14thh Kyle Rau (Michigan)
15th Mike Netzer (Wisconsin)
16th Ben Walker (Wisconsin)
1st Katina Davis (Australia)
2nd Cayla Fritz (Wisconsin)
3nd Liana Richardson (Wisconsin)
4th Cheri Coda (Wisconsin)
1st Pete Fleck (Florida)
2nd Wayne King (Canada)
3rd Marc Donahue (Indiana)
4th Jon DeBelak (Wisconsin)
1st Mike Netzer (Wisconsin)
2nd Joe Smith (Illinois)
3rd Bob Mahnke (Wisconsin)
4th Mike Rotar (Wisconsin)
1st Cale Ducane (Wisconsin)
2nd Ian Burke (Missouri)
3rd Andrew Puissant (Wisconsin)
4th Kyle Schaub (Wisconsin)
1st Mike Netzer
2nd Trevor Marvin
3rd Three Amigos