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The Trickle - Skipping it

July 8, 2014 - Brian Ferry
So, it's been a long time. That doesn't mean the title has anything to do with my not writing.

The annual Rock In River state championship stone skipping competition is coming up.

It will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 23, in Franklin's Riverfront Park, where French Creek enters the Allegheny River.

It's a beautiful spot and something about the water makes it a great place to skip stones.

If you look for flat rocks whenever you're near water and don't mind spectators, think about it.

I plan to compete again this year.

In my first foray into the professional ranks (I really don't know anyone who gets paid to do this, so the term 'professional' must be applied loosely), I managed to whirl a 30. That was quite an accomplishment for me.

Of course, it doesn't seem that great when a particular 10-year old (who was 9 at the time) I know whipped a 29 minutes later.

I've only practiced at my favorite launching pad - the confluence of Matthews Run and Brokenstraw Creek in Youngsville - twice this year. It doesn't seem like enough training, but I've had some success.

I think I had more than one skip of 20-plus one trip. Somehow, the numbers go up in Franklin.

When I'm out, I try to collect a few "ideal" stones. Unfortunately, my ideal changes minute-to-minute. I look for a smooth, circular stone, maybe 3.5 inches in diameter, around a half-inch think. I'll try to skip any gooney rock, but closer to the above specifications leads to better results.

I'm not aiming to finish in the fudge - top three professional skippers are awarded fudge (I still don't think that qualifies them as professionals) - but to make the top five. It's an ambitious goal, but not out of the realm of possibility. The top few guys still have a bunch of skips on me.

If I can get to 34 or 35, I suspect I'll end up in the top five and beat the 10-year old.


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