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

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

Florida’s Fleck wins record 8h National Figure Eight Open Title in dramatic fashion.

Crandon, Wisconsin – It had been over 5 years and 1200 runs at the National Figure Eight Barefoot Championships since the last Pete Fleck fell before his opponent did on a run. August 3 in the finals of the double elimination tournament, it happened again to the same man who beat him last in the longest run in the event’s history, Marc Donahue. The stunned crowd couldn’t believe what they had seen. The run didn’t even go a full figure eight. The reason? The protective tape Fleck was wearing, tore off, sending him sideways in a set of giant cross rollers in the final hundred yards of the first eight. To some barefoot purists it was the ultimate irony. The controversial Duck tape that allowed him and other skiers to protect their feet so they could barefoot farther without burning, ultimately did him in. Word quickly spread across social media. Fleck’s 3-year stranglehold on the Open Championship might end. The fall would force a run-off.

But after quickly re-taping, Fleck proved once again why he is the most dominant endurance footer in the world, beating Donahue easily to win his record eight National Figure Eight Open Title.

The championship followed a weekend of drama and near misses that saw a half dozen strong contenders, including last year’s runner-up Chad Mietz and former Footstock Open Champ Donahue making strong runs at the title. The two of them completing more than double the number of figure eights any other competitor had to complete, besides Fleck.

But the most interesting subplot, was whether either of the world’s two highest ranked professional barefooters, Keith St. Onge or David Small could pose a threat to the seemingly unbeatable Fleck.

The crowd got its first answer early Sunday when the long-awaited head to head matchup between Fleck and the reigning World Overall Champ, Small (who was competing for the first time at Footstock), ended in a rare disqualification because of Small’s butt riding on the final stretch of their first eight. Small disputed the call by the boat. But the mistake was clear to the crowd of over 500 on shore. Small would have to work his way through the loser’s bracket if he wanted a chance at the title.

But neither of them got a second chance at Fleck.  As both were knocked out in the round of 6 by Donahue. Their exits left just Donahue and last year’s runner-up Chad Mietz to wrench Fleck’s stranglehold on the Open title. After two eights, Mietz succumbed to fatigue and the Indiana Iron Man-Donahue, setting up an all-too familiar final and a rematch of the Senior Championship the day before.

Despite the cheering of the obviously Donahue backed crowd and the tournament’s Fleck Vodoo-themed promotional poster, Fleck was again the last man standing.

“Marc made it really tough on me,” explained an exhausted, but jubilant Fleck in the boat after winning. “Winning number 8 with my family here was really special.”

The 2-day tournament, which featured 121 professional and amateur footers from Florida to Canada, started with a full figure eight on the very first run setting the tone for a weekend of uncharacteristically calm water. Although the longest run of the tournament was just 2-3/4 eights, far short of the record 5-1/4 eights by Donahue and Fleck in 2010, figure eights were the norm all weekend in every division from Juniors to Masters.

The Senior Division Championship was also won by Fleck on Saturday, for the fourth consecutive time. A dramatic shift in weather conditions Sunday afternoon though, brought whitecaps to the mile and a half course and scuttled any chance for long runs in the Women’s, Junior’s or Masters Division Championships. In the end, Wayne King of Canada continued his dominance of the Master’s Division beating Michigan’s Dave Hopkins in a run-off. And Wisconin’s Amandas Cotter upset last year’s champ, Haley Gibbon in the women’s final. In a rematch of last year’s Junior final, Brody Meskers beat young Isaac Aukee twice to win his first title.

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. Skiers received points for their costume creativity, originality and difficulty to ski in and bonus points for their finish in their overall bracket. “Leisure Suit” man, Brayden Becker let in costume creativity along with Joe Heilman for his depiction of “Mini-Fleck.” But Tim Camodeca in his Penguin Suit prevailed after receiving 5 bonus points for winning the skiing part of the competition. In all, 9 skiers competed in the inaugural division which is sure to explode next year.

In all, over 274 runs were pulled in two days and $8,500 in prize money was awarded, making it the largest cash prize barefoot championship in the country.

 

2014 National Figure Eight Barefoot Championships Official Results

Open
1st      Pete Fleck (Florida)
2nd      Marc Donahue (Indiana)
3rd      Chad Mietz (Wisconsin)
4th      David Small (England)
5th      Keith St Onge (Florida)
6th      Kyle Kazel (Minnesota)
7th      Brody Meskers (Wisconsin)
8th      Luke Bruckner (Wisconsin)
9th      Colt Wennlund (Wisconsin)
10th      Kevin MacGregor (Minnesota)
11th      Jacob Weber (Minnesota)
12th      Nick Ruchti (Minnesota)
13th      Greg Fatla (Wisconsin)
14th      Ron Blouw (Michigan)
15th      Alex Mahnke (Wisconsin)
16th      Martin Lorenz (Minnesota)

Womens
1st      Amanda Cotter (Wisconsin)
2nd      Haley Gibbon (Wisconsin)
3rd      Kristina Ruchti (Minnesota)
4th      Amanda Nelson (Wisconsin)

Seniors
1st      Pete Fleck (Florida)
2nd      Marc Donahue (Indiana)
3rd      Chad Mietz (Wisconsin)
4th      Bob Mahnke (Wisconsin)

Masters
1st      Wayne King (Canda)
2nd      Dave Hopkins (Michigan)
3rd      Mike Netzer (Wisconsin)

Juniors
1st      Brody Meskers (Wisconsin)
2nd      Isaac Aukee (Michigan)
3rd      Spencer Schallock (Wisconsin)
4th      Henry Kerschbaum (Wisconsin)

Best of the Worst and Worst
Jarrett Breber

Costume Contest
1st      Tim Camodeca (Penguin)
2nd      Braydon Becker (Leisure Suit)
3rd      Joe Heilman (Mini Fleck)

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

Rough Water Pummels Barefooters at Figure Eight National Championships. Florida’s Fleck wins record 7h Open Title.

Crandon, Wisconsin – For the second year in a row, mother nature wreaked havoc on Footstock, the nation’s largest endurance barefoot competition in Crandon, Wisconsin.

Over 120 skiers from as far south as Florida and as far north as Canada, made the annual pilgrimage to the Northwoods of Wisconsin to ski in this year’s 25th anniversary event. But what they encountered was not the glass calm water that endurance barefooters typically prefer. Instead, they saw 15-25 mph southwest winds pummel the famed “Chetek Corner,” the huge looping ½ mile turn on the backside of Peshtigo Lake, making the chance of anyone completing a figure eight almost impossible.

In the end though, neither runner-up Chad Mietz nor mother nature could derail endurance barefoot phenomenon Peter Fleck of Orlando Florida, as he cruised unbeaten all weekend to win both the National Seniors and Open Barefoot Titles. The conditions were so rough, that only three figure eights were completed all weekend, two at the end of Saturday and only one on Sunday-the last run of the day. The run that decided the Open Championship.

The rough water also had a major impact on some of the perennial favorites as most struggled to even get to the backside of the tough mile and a half course. Past champion Ron Blouw was knocked out before reaching the Top 20 and favorite Marc Donahue of Indiana could do no better than 6th. But the weather did reveal the strength of some up and coming skiers that could soon challenge Fleck for the Open title. Besides the “iron man” Mietz who took second in both the Seniors and Open division for the second year in a row, hometown skier, Jacob Weber made his presence known in the Open Division by steamrolling the field to take third, his best finish ever. Former hometown skier, Greg Fatla took an impressive 5th and the surprise of the championship might have been the showing of Minnesota barefooter Kyle Kazle. After not even cracking the Top 40. Kazle dominated in the rough water and consistently pulled off some of the longest runs of the tournament before taking home 4th place in the Open.

But in the end, even with Barefoot Central’s $1,000 bounty on his head, (offered to any skiers who could beat him), Fleck was unstoppable and was the only man to not suffer a fall all weekend.

“It was brutal out there Sunday,” noted Tournament Director, Jacob Weber. “As soon as you made the first turn it was just constant waves. On Sunday, the tournament definitely changed from endurance to survival out there. ”

The weekend also was a coming out party of sorts for eventual Women’s Champ, Haley Gibbon who not only roared through her division, but knocked off some men in the Open as well. As did 2nd place women’s barefooter Victoria Wiesner, who also showed her toughness in some long runs on the rough water course.

In the Master’s Division, Canadian barefooter, Wayne King of Manitoba defended his title by beating Michigan’s Dave Hopkins twice in a row in the finals.

In the Junior Division, Isaac Aukee and Brody Meskers showed why the future is bright for them as well, as they battled it out for first and second, respectively. Meskers also had his best finish in the Open, placing an impressive 7th.

The Best of the Worst crown went to Joel Kehl.

In all, over 265 runs were pulled in two days and $7,500 in prize money was awarded.

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

Florida’s Fleck wins record 6th National Figure Eight Championship

Rough water abounds. 11-year old is youngest Top 16 finisher ever.

Crandon, Wisconsin – Pete Fleck knew he had a target on his back, in his quest for a record sixth Footstock Open National Championship, when his first run on Saturday morning to start the tournament went for two and a half miles against an unseeded skier.

And it didn’t get any easier from there for the U.S. World Barefoot Team skier from Orlando Florida, as he, along with 125 other barefooters from 10 states and Canada took to the waters of Peshtigo Lake in Crandon for Footstock, the country’s largest endurance barefoot championship. The two-day event pits barefooters head to head at the same time over a figure eight course to see who can barefoot the farthest. Most of whom had trained all year to beat one man. Pete Fleck.

Despite being forced to ski multiple eights early in the competition, no one was successful on Saturday at taking out the defending champ, as rough water turned the usually calm Peshtigo into a barefooters’ nightmare. Although past Footstock champs like Marc Donohue, and Ron Blouw, along with veteran skiers Eric DeVries, Luke Bruckner, James and Jacob Weber, Chad Mietz and Greg Fatla handled the rough conditions with few problems, many skiers struggled to make even half an eight on the mile and a half course.

So after 7 hours and over 175 runs, the first day ended much the same way it started, with Pete Fleck completing two figure eights to defeat 2010 champ, Marc Donohue of Indiana for the National Senior Division Championship. A rematch of their dramatic 2011 championship

The conditions Sunday, however, started out the total opposite. After delaying the start by over an hour due to fog, Peshtigo was a sheet of glass calm water and Pete Fleck again was challenged on the very first run of the day by Nick Ruchti. The junior division start put a big scare into the champ, taking him for two full figure eights. But the calm conditions were short-lived. By noon, steady winds started to whip out of the north creating havoc all over the course, turning the famed Peshtigo Figure Eight, into a mess.

“The waves definitely cut down on the number of eights skiers made,” described Tournament Director, Jacob Weber. “There were basically no places on the course where you could relax. The whole straight away you just got pummeled.”

And although Fleck and local favorite Greg Fatla (fresh off his National Men’s barefoot slalom championship in Texas) continued to plow through the field as the only two undefeated skiers, the story of the day was the performance of two up and coming junior skiers. 11-year old Ethan Schulda who finished 9th and 15-year old Nick Ruchti who cranked out eight after eight all day in difficult conditions against the world’s best endurance footers.

“Nick Ruchti is going to win the Open Championship by his 18th birthday,” predicted long-time Footstock Announcer, Dave Mueller. “He has been skiing here since he was 9. He is already a veteran and he doesn’t weigh 100 lbs with his clothes on.”

The other story was the amazing performance of frequent Top 20 finisher Chad Mietz of Michigan. He took out seeded skier after seeded skier all Sunday, turning out multiple eights over and over until working his way into the Open Championship run against Pete Fleck. But, after being forced to ski over and over to get to the championship, including the longest run of the day, a semi-final run against Marc Donahue that went 2-1/2 eights in absolutely brutal conditions, in the end Mietz didn’t have enough gas in the tank to catch the well-rested Fleck, who took home his record sixth Open National Figure Eight Barefoot Championship in Crandon.
Fleck also took home $2,400 for his Open and Senior championships.

The hometown skiers again made an impressive showing amongst the national field, with Greg Fatla finishing third, Jacob Weber finishing 13th and James Weber finishing 16th.

Three other division championships were also decided on Sunday. In the Master’s Division (over 55), Canadian barefooter, Wayne King of Manitoba came out of nowhere to upset defending Master’s Champ Bob “the Mule” Mahnke by beating him twice. After a brutally rough eight that almost took King down several times, Mahnke caught a toe in the cross rollers coming back. Then in the final run-off, Mahnke did something he has never done in a major competition. He missed his step-off, giving King the title of National Masters Champion. Dave Hopkins of Michigan took third and Dan Cardinal of Wisconsin was fourth.

In the Junior Division, Pierce Pluemmer, Isaac Aukee and Nick Ruchti battled it out, with Pierce Pluemmer winning his third and last Junior title. In the championship Pluemmer and Aukee both battled through extremely rough water, until Aukee caught the crossrollers coming back through the middle of the course and fell ahead of Pluemmer.

On the women’s side, Liana Sikora was dominant all weekend, beating newcomer and local favorite Victoria Wienser to take the Women’s National crown. Third went to Haley Gibbon and fourth went to Joanne OConnor, the oldest female skier to ever compete at Footstock, at 63 years young.

Best of the Worst went to Richard Legois who beat out Jay Schaefer for the less than coveted title. Nick Ruchti won the costume contest.

In all, over $7,000 in prize money was given away.

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