Crandon, Wisconsin – There’s one axiom that always holds true at Footstock, the National Championship of Figure Eight Endurance Barefooting: expect the unexpected.
A year after recording the longest single figure eight run in Footstock history (5-1/4 eights) and winning his first national championship, defending champ, Mark Donahue last year couldn’t even crack the Top 20. The 2011 championship run, which usually goes at least four laps, could barely muster 2 and 1/2. And just when you thought Pete Fleck was too old to win his record fifth Footstock Open Title, not only did he win one division, but he swept two (Seniors and Open).
So what will the storyline for 2012 be? According to Tournament Official, Gary Mueller, it might just be the weather. But it’s not rough water he’s talking about.
“The weather in the Midwest has been so unseasonably warm, that the ice went off almost a month and a half early,” explains Mueller. “That means a ton of extra training for the “northern” skiers who typically finish in the Top 10. That’s going to give a lot more guys the chance to beat the southern skiers like Fleck and Keith St. Onge who can ski year round.”
The two-day national championship, held on tiny Peshtigo Lake in Crandon, August 18 and 19th is expected to draw a huge field from all over the country. Last year, with the addition of the new Masters division (50 and over), the tournament field swelled to 164.
The popular Footstock pits pro and amateur barefooters from across the country head to head over twisting and often choppy, mile and half figure eight course. The premise is simple. The skier who barefoots the longest wins. The competition is intense, the falls brutal, and the last man standing on Sunday is crowned the National Figure Eight Endurance Champion.
5-time National Champion Pete Fleck of Orlando Florida has already announced he will return to defend his Open title. The former X-Games barefoot champ, will almost certainly face a stiffer test in 2012. And if conditions are calm, skiers could challenge the almost unfathomable 2010 record of 5-1/4 laps.
And in addition to crowning an Open Champion, Footstock will also crown national champions in Juniors, Womens, Seniors and Masters Divisions. Entry forms can be downloaded at footstock2012.com.