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CONTACT: Gary Mueller, 414-899-6118 (cell)

Florida’s Fleck wins Record 10th National Open Endurance Title.

Crandon, Wisconsin – Footstock 2018 had it’s share of challenges. Weed issues forcing time-consuming re-runs. A 2 hour rain delay on Sunday morning. And the task of running off the biggest field of barefooters in Crandon in a decade — 155 competitors. But in the end, the drama of the Open championship trumped everything.

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

OPEN
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)

Womens
1st Katina Davis (Australia)
2nd Cayla Fritz (Wisconsin)
3nd Liana Richardson (Wisconsin)
4th Cheri Coda (Wisconsin)

Seniors
1st Pete Fleck (Florida)
2nd Wayne King (Canada)
3rd Marc Donahue (Indiana)
4th Jon DeBelak (Wisconsin)

Masters
1st Mike Netzer (Wisconsin)
2nd Joe Smith (Illinois)
3rd Bob Mahnke (Wisconsin)
4th Mike Rotar (Wisconsin)

Juniors
1st Cale Ducane (Wisconsin)
2nd Ian Burke (Missouri)
3rd Andrew Puissant (Wisconsin)
4th Kyle Schaub (Wisconsin)

Costume Contest
1st Mike Netzer
2nd Trevor Marvin
3rd Three Amigos

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE/BREAKING NEWS FROM FOOTSTOCK
CONTACT: Gary Mueller, 414-899-6118 (cell)

Crandon, Wisconsin – “I’m coming up to compete. Don’t tell anyone,” was the text message Footstock organizer Bucky Daily received from the country’s top professional barefooter, Keith St. Onge just 36 hours before the start of Footstock – the National Figure Eight Barefoot Championships. With a previously scheduled clinic having cancelled, St. Onge decided to make the last second 250-mile trek from Chicago to Crandon, Wisconsin to compete in the country’s biggest endurance barefoot championship. 48 hours later on Sunday afternoon on the shores of Peshtigo Lake, with his Open Champion trophy held high, St. Onge did not regret his decision.

The surprise appearance of St. Onge (Florida) was only one of the many plot twists in the two-day championship, often referred to as “America’s Craziest Barefoot Tournament. “ The first coming on Saturday as last year’s Open Champion, Jon DeBelak (Wisconsin) beat 9-time Open Champ, Pete Fleck (Florida) twice in a row to take the National Senior Championship in two grueling back-to-back runs in less than ideal conditions.

The second plot twist came early Sunday morning as training partners Marc Donahue and Jon DeBelak faced off against one another in calm water on the first run of the day. Predicting more than four eights before leaving the dock, DeBelak caught a toe at the end of the first eight sending him into the consolation bracket early, and leaving him facing the task of having to work twice as hard to repeat as champion.

But the real storyline, and a familiar one for Footstock, was the brutal water conditions. With typically dozens of multiple figure eights completed in a day, Saturday saw only 6 and Sunday only 10 completed figure eights. The longest being 2-3/4 eights by Jon DeBelak and Marc Donahue on Saturday.

The rough water opened the door for the Midwestern favorites, like Jacob Weber, Greg Fatla, Marc Donahue, Kelly Wieringa, and Eric Devries to shine. Thriving in brutal water conditions, they finished in the Top 8 in the Open division. Not a surprise was the continued emergence of 16-year old, US Team barefooter, Brody Meskers (Wisconsin), who after winning his second straight Junior National Championship at Footstock added a fourth place finish in Open-losing to his mentor, St. Onge.

But it was the final four runs that set the stage for one of Footstock’s most dramatic finishes. After beating Fleck in a grueling semi-final run, St. Onge sat on and rested while Fleck had the daunting task of knocking off his arch nemesis, Jon DeBelak. After completing the second longest run of Sunday, 2-2/3 eights, DeBelak fell. Opening the door for a rematch of the 2011 championship between the two.

After a rough first figure eight, St. Onge and Fleck battled through grueling water conditions until Fleck finally succumbed on the difficult cross-roller section coming back towards shore. Leaving St. Onge, the last man standing at 2017 Footstock.

For a guy who wasn’t even supposed to compete, the smile on his face, as he came back to the dock said it all. And as the crowd stood, and the exhausted, but elated St. Onge, pumped both fists in the air, he knew he had done something few before him had ever done. Beat Pete Fleck in an Open Championship run.

“This is the toughest tournament in all of barefooting,” explained St. Onge to local reporters. “It feels great to win Footstock again, and especially knowing it came against the best endurance footer of all time, Pete Fleck. It is all the sweeter.”

As for Fleck, after suffering a debilitating back injury (ruptured L5 disk) that sidelined him all of 2016, he considered two second place finishes in the National Championship a victory. and a huge step in the road back for him.

“I had a goal to get back physically to where I was before the injury,” explained Fleck. “Now I’m ready to come back next year I and go for Number 10.”

In all, 118 barefooters competed in the grueling, two-day championship title-sponsored this year by the WBC, Mole Lake Casino and Forest County Potawatomi. And almost $7,000 was handed out to the winners.

On the women’s side, Liana Richardson, came back to beat, Haley Gibbon twice to take the Women’s National Figure Eight Chamionship, her second such achievement.

And in one of the most entertaining championships of the day, in extremely rough water, 63 year-old Bob Mahnke outlasted 67-year old Paul Elsen twice in a row, covering almost a full eight, to win the Master’s National Championship.

2017 RESULTS


2017 National Figure Eight Barefoot Championships Official Results

Open
1st Keith St. Onge (Florida)
2nd Pete Fleck (Florida)
3rd Jon DeBelak (Wisconsin)
4th Brody Meskers (Wisconsin)
5th Jacob Weber (Wisconsin)
6th Marc Donahue (Indiana)
7th Eric DeVries (Michigan)
8th Greg Fatla (Wisconsin)
9th Kelly Wieringa (Michigan)
10th Brad Pylman (Michigan)
11th Luke Bruckner (Wisconsin)
12thh Chad Mietz (Wisconsin)
13thh Axle Erlandson (Minnesota)
14th Nate Birchler (Wisconsin)
15th Mark Mahan (Wisconsin)
16th Travis Lepak (Wisconsin)

Womens
1st Liana Richardson (Wisconsin)
2nd Haley Gibbon (Wisconsin)
3nd Angela Clothier (Wisconsin)

Seniors
1st Jon DeBelak (Wisconsin)
2nd Pete Fleck (Florida)
3rd Marc Donahue (Indiana)

Masters
1st Bob Mahnke (Wisconsin)
2nd Paul Elsen (Wisconsin)
3rd Mark Wallesverd (Wisconsin)

Juniors
1st Brody Meskers (Wisconsin)
2nd Andrew Puissant (Wisconsin)
3rd Ian Burke (Missouri)

Best of the Worst and Worst
Paul Elsen (Wisconsin)

Costume contest
1st Greg Fatla and Jacob Weber
2nd Keith St. Onge
3rd Trevor Marvin

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE/BREAKING NEWS
CONTACT: Gary Mueller, 414-899-6118 (cell)

(World’s top-ranked barefooters from Australia, New Zealand, England, US and Canada to compete for National Figure Eight Barefoot Championship.)

Crandon, Wisconsin – With the World Barefoot Championships held in Alma Center, Wisconsin this summer, Footstock, the WBC National Figure Barefoot Championships will be the unlikely beneficiary of an international field this year. As many of the world’s top-ranked 3-event barefooters are staying the extra week to compete in Crandon. The only question is, how will they hold up competing in the country’s most challenging endurance barefoot championship, a tournament that pits barefooters head to head to see who can go the farthest while battling wind and waves over the country’s most punishing Figure Eight course.

Already the field includes 5-time Men’s Overall World Champ, David Small of England, Ben Groen, the #3 ranked barefooter in the world from New Zealand. Australia’s Ashleigh Stebbeings, the #1-ranked Woman barefooter in the world. And 13-time World Champion Gold Medalist, Keith St. Onge of Winter Haven, Florida. Along with a host of other Australian team skiers.

But the bigger storyline just may be who isn’t competing. As 9-time National Figure Eight Open Champ, Pete Fleck (Orlando, FL) announced that he will not defend his title for a record 5th time in a row due to an injured back. This opens the door to a wide open international field, including former Footstock champ and perennial Top 3 finisher, St. Onge, and England’s Small. Of course, last year’s runner-up, Iron Man Chad Mietz, might have the best odds of winning, after beating Fleck not once, but twice in head to head battles last year to win the Seniors division championship.

“The event which starts August 27, on Peshtigo Lake in Crandon, Wisconsin, boasts over $6,000 in prize money. An estimated 140 skiers from 10 states and 5 countries are expected to compete in the two day championships. The last person standing on Sunday is crowned the Open National Champ. National titles will also be decided in Juniors, Womens, Seniors and Masters divisions.

“With Pete Fleck out, the field is wide open this year,” explains Tournament Organizer, Gary Mueller. “There are at least 6-8 guys that have a good chance of winning it. We will absolutely have a new Open champ in 2016 and his name will not be Pete Fleck.”

Other barefooters to watch include perennial favorites, Marc Donahue (Indiana), 3-time Master’s Champ Wayne King (Canada), up and coming young endurance barefooters Kyle Kazel (Minnesota) and Brody Meskers (Wisconsin) and Kyle Rau (Michigan).

This year, the championship also has some new sponsors. World Barefoot Center (WBC) is the 2016 Title Sponsor of Footstock. Mole Lake Casino and Hotel is another new major sponsor. Other new sponsors include Mustard Girl, Watercraft Sales and Northwood’s Insurance who join long-time sponsors, Forest County Potawatomi, Arlens Cellcom, Schaefer’s IGA, Trig’s Smokehouse, I-Gogs, Brew Pub Pizza, Pack Em Inn Bar, Creative Screenprint, Knott Lane, Troy Bocek Auto Body, Group Therapy, Musson Brothers and Blue Bunny Ice Cream

Open practice on Peshtigo Lake begins on Friday from 2:30-5.

Competition starts on Saturday at 9:25 and goes til 5:00. Sunday skiing begins at 8:30 and runs until about 3:00. Registration forms are available online at Footstock2016.com.
On-site registration closes Saturday, August 27th, at 8:45 am.
Admission to the event is $2 a day or $3 for the whole weekend.
# # #

2016 Schedule of Events at Peshtigo Lake, Crandon

Friday, August 26
2:30-5:00 p.m. Open Practice
3:00-6:00 p.m. Registration and Bib Pick-up Opens on site
7:00 p.m.- Official Footstock Party Bar (Group Therapy)

Saturday, August 27
7:00 a.m. Late Registration/Packet Pick-up Opens
8:45 a.m. Registration Closes (All skiers must check-in at registration whether they are pre-registered or not by 8:45)
9:00 a.m. Skier’s Meeting
9:10 First Pairings Announced/First Coin Flip
9:18 a.m. National Anthem
9:25 Senior, Junior, Women, Masters and Open Division Competition Begins
2:00 p.m. Costume Division Preliminary Judging
5:00 p.m. Senior Division Championship Rounds
8:00 p.m. Official Footstock Party Bar (Pack Em In)

Sunday, August 28
7:45 a.m. Skiers due on site
8:00 a.m. Skier’s Update Meeting
8:30 a.m. Junior, Women and Open Rounds continue
2:30 p.m. Junior and Women, Masters Championship Rounds
3:00 p.m. Open Semi-Final Rounds/Championship
4:00 p.m. Awards Ceremony


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Crandon, Wisconsin – It was announced Monday that the World Barefoot Center (WBC) has been named the official Title sponsor of Footstock, the world’s largest and most prestigious figure eight endurance barefoot championship.

The WBC was founded by 16-time US National Overall Barefoot Champ and 13-time World Barefoot Gold Medalist, Keith St. Onge of Winter haven, Florida along with the U.K.’s David Small, 4-time men’s Overall World Champ and current Open Men’s World Jump and Trick Record Holder.

The WBC is the country’s premiere barefoot training center.

Footstock co-founder Gary Mueller believes the partnership with the WBC will help ensure that the two-day National Championship in Crandon, Wisconsin will continue to grow.

“Keith and David, and their team at WBC are such great ambassadors for the sport of barefooting,” explains Mueller. “With their help, we believe we can continue to grow Footstock and ensure the next generation of barefooters will continue to see Figure Eight endurance barefooting as a great chance to compete against the world’s best barefooters on an equal stage.”

The National Figure Eight Endurance Barefoot Championships are slated to be held August 26-27, on Peshtigo Lake in Crandon, Wisconsin. Over $7,000 in prize money, the world’s largest cash barefoot purse is on the line. Over 130 skiers from 10 states and 5 countries are expected to compete in the two day championships. The event pits barefooters head to head to see who can go the farthest while battling wind and waves over a punishing mile and a half Figure Eight course. The last person standing on Sunday is crowned the Open National Champ. National titles will also be decided in Juniors, Womens, Seniors and Masters divisions.

Registration forms are available online at Footstock2016.com.

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Crandon, Wisconsin – Rough water may have dominated the storyline of the 29th National Figure Eight Barefoot Championships in Crandon, Wisconsin, but it was nine-time champ Peter Fleck’s losses on Saturday in the Senior Championship and on Sunday in the semi-final round to Chad Mietz that had people buzzing. Because for the first time in five years, it appeared that the 52-year old Fleck was finally showing some chinks in the armor.

But after turning in the only two-figure eights all weekend (the lowest total since 1992, Fleck showed why he is the most dominant Figure Eight barefooter in the history of the sport. Knocking off Madison, Wisconsin’s Chad Mietz to win his fifth straight Open Championship.

The championship for Fleck followed a weekend of surprises, starting with Mietz’s consecutive victories over Fleck in the Senior National Championship on Saturday night. The emergence of first time Footstocker, Kyle Rau of Michigan, who took third overall also caught the field by surprise. Junior champion 16-year old Brody Meskers continued to show he will be a force to be reckoned with the next few years, by not only winning the Junior National Championship but also taking fourth, knocking off his coach and mentor, three-event National Champion, Keith St. Onge.

On the women’s side, former National 3-event champion, Elaine Fatla made her triumphant return to Footstock, after a three year hiatus, and not only won the women’s National Championship over a gutsy performance by Minnesota’s Amanda Cotter, but Fatla took 14th in the Open division as well. While Wisconsin’s Hailey Gibbon, who narrowly missed the Top 16 in Open, took third.

The Master’s Championship had it’s shared of drama as well, as Jon DeBelak, skiing only 6 weeks after shattering his heel hitting a log, barefooted all weekend on one foot and forced a second championship run before succumbing to Mike Netzer.

The two-day National Championship, which featured 130 professional and amateur footers from Florida to Canada.

Crandon’s own Jakob Weber had an incredible weekend, placing seventh in the Open Division under brutal conditions on Peshtigo Lake.

The tournament’s newest competitive division also proved to be one of the weekend’s most entertaining. The Costume Division, sponsored by BarefootCentral and Eagle Sports had $900 on the line to the 3 top finishers. “Lumberjack” man, Greg Fatla beat “Superman” Scott Wedge to to take the “costume” championship.

In all, over 276 runs were pulled in two days and a record $9000 in prize money was awarded, making it the largest cash prize barefoot championship in the country.

 

2015 National Figure Eight Barefoot Championships Official Results

2015 Winners

1st Pete Fleck (Florida)

2nd Chad Mietz (Wisconsin)

3rd Kyle Rou (Michigan)

4th Brody Meskers (Wisconsin)

5th Kyle Kazel (Minnesota)

6th Keith St Onge (Florida)

7th Jacob Weber (Minnesota)

8th Brad Pylman (Michigan)

9th  Bob Mahnke (Wisconsin)

10th Dave Hopkins (Michigan)

11th Jon DeBelak (Wisconsin)

12thh Marc Donahue (Indiana)

13thh Joe Heilman (Minnesota)

14th Elaine Fatla (Wisconsin)

15th Isaac Auckee (Wisconsin)

16th Luke Bruckner (Wisconsin)

 

Womens

1st Elaine Fatla (Wisconsin)

2nd Amanda Cotter (Wisconsin)

3nd Haley Gibbon (Wisconsin)

4th Victoria Wienser (Wisconsin)

 

Seniors

1st Chad Mietz (Wisconsin)

2nd Pete Fleck (Florida)

3rd Brad Pylman (Michigan)

4th Bob Mahnke (Wisconsin)

 

Masters

1st Mike Netzer (Wisconsin)

2nd John DeBelak (Wisconsin)

3rd Wayne King (Canda)

4th Bob Mahnke (Wisconsin)

 

 

Juniors

1st Brody Meskers (Wisconsin)

2nd Ethan Schulda (Wisconsin)

3rd Maxwell Wohlleber (Wisconsin)

4th Payton Blau (Michigan)

 

 

Best of the Worst and Worst

Mike Netzer

 

Costume Contest

1st Greg Fatla

2nd Scott Wedge

3rd Joe Heilman/Amanda Cotter

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