This Fourth of July, “Rock Stars” from every corner of the country will meet at the 51st Annual Mackinac Island Stone Skipping Tournament.
“They do bring a crowd of roughly 3 to 4 hundred people. They’ve got someone on the mic announcing everything. It’s definitely competitive amongst the pros. But, it’s a lot of laughter, it’s a lot of taking jabs at each other. But, everyone definitely wants to win,” said, Bugsy Sailor, a local stone skipper.
Bugsy sailor will be the only U.P. resident taking part in the tournament. He’s been traveling to the island for the past seven years and hopes he can finally break through after a couple of recent second-place finishes in the pro division.
“Mackinac Island is tough because it’s a well-known tournament, but you deal with the wakes from the boats and the ferries and it’s very exposed water so it’s not a place where records will ever be broken,” Said Sailor.
The rules of the competition are pretty simple…
“It’s really simple. Each skipper is given six stones or six throws, and your final score is the number of skips of your best throw. So, you can have 5 bad throws and one good one can save the day,” added Sailor.
And picking the right stone — as you can imagine — is very important. It could make or break how well you do before you even throw your first rock.
“Yeah, so you want a good stone that’s flat, round, I actually prefer one with a few corners on it to get a different grip. I usually like one about the size of my palm or a little bit bigger if you really want to throw one with a lot of distance. And a high number of skips. Of course, calm water and everything else is a matter of technique and practice. It’s really more of a sidearm motion and releasing at the hip.”
And even you could be the next big name in ‘stone skipping.’
“Anybody can show up on Mackinac Island. It’s every July fourth at noon. They have an amateur open which, 100 to 200 people compete in. There’s also a large contest in Pennsylvania and a big contest in Scotland as well.”