51st Annual Stone Skipping Competition on Mackinac Island Crowns a New Champion

Quite a crowd on Windemere Point Beach on Mackinac Island this morning for the 51st Annual Stone Skipping Competition.

It happens every Fourth of July.

Ten year olds to lifetime stone skippers came to compete in amateur and professional tournaments.

“Heavier rocks. I’ve got some heavier rocks right here. Better for the waves. I’m ready to go,” said professional stone skipper, Matthew Lenhardt.

“It’s the fifty first time that we’ve done this. It started way back in 1979,” said Tim Hygh of Mackinac Island Tourism.

It’s grown it into a fairly major event on the 4th of July.

Getting 400-500 people coming just for the stone skipping.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer will be here tossing out the first stone as part of the opening ceremonies.

“It’s a pro-invitational. We try to limit the field to the top ten. The current world record is 88 skips. The current Guinness World Record holder is here and you never know until you’re standing there if the waters going to cooperate,” said professional stone skipper, John “The Sherriff” Colar.

“Hope to skip a couple rapid ones before it gets out to more unpredictable water. I’m just going to wing it as they say. I won it in 2015 so looking to reclaim my title. I’ve got to pick out my tournament ones that i’m going to throw,” said Guinness World Record Holder, Kurt Steiner.

“We’ll see about the chops out there. Depends on when ferry’s come in and out, see how wavy it is. Water conditions like this today, we’ll probably see something in the high 20’s. Each skipper is allowed six stones. Big skips are called plinkers and the little skips at the end are called pitty pats,” said professional stone skipper and former champion, Nathan Rango.

The judges will try to count the number of skips.

That will be the official score.

The pros win the Grand Hotel goblets stuffed with $200.

20 skips, that was the highest for today.

“I haven’t thrown a stone actually in two years so just getting back into it and everything. Pretty nervous today so I’m glad it went the right way for me,” said 2019 winner, Maxwell Steiner.

All proceeds from the tournament go to the Mackinac Island Community Foundation.