International Rutabaga Curling Championship
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The International Rutabaga Curling Championship takes place annually at the Ithaca Farmers' Market, New York state, on the last day of the market season, which is typically the third weekend in December.
The International Rutabaga Curling Championship started spontaneously in December 1997. Vendors at the Ithaca Farmers' Market began rolling their wares down the main aisle with the intent to stay warm; vendors did not discriminate about what they threw, and even frozen chickens were utilized. Rules have since been developed by Steve Sierigk, the High Commissioner of the International Rutabaga Curling Championship.
The 2010 Championship saw a small turning point in local acknowledgement of the event. A group of protesters showed up with signs and slogans against the event, such as "Say No to Rutabaga Curlty", "Greet Your Veggies, Don't Eat Them" "Get a Clue Folks, Brassica is not Brad Pitt and Jessica Simpson", and "It's all fun and games until somebody loses an eye" with a picture of a deoculated Mr. Potato Head. Having a protest organized against your event is an old Ithacan tradition to fully acknowledge that you have become an accepted member of the community.
- The court is drawn within the confines of the market midway, composed of roughly flat, wooden planks. The pitch is generally around 79 feet with a circular target at the far end (see curling for a graphical representation of a similar target). Once a rutabaga has been thrown it shall lie on the field of play until all other contestants in that section have rolled. Thrown rutabagas are subject to being knocked by subsequent rolls.
- Contestants are divided into three sections, each competing within themselves. The top three finishers of each section qualify for the championship round. The top three contestants in that round are awarded gold, silver, and bronze medals, along with eternal glory, honor, and fame.
- Only rutabagas are allowed to be used in the competition. Turnips, any other variety of root vegetable, or member of the Cruciferae family will not be permitted. (An exception was made in the 2005 championships to allow the use of turnips. The emergency rule change was necessary because the official rutabagas were frozen and unavailable for use.) Contestants are encouraged to supply their own rutabagas, though vendors may be on hand to provide suitable rutabagas for competition. Modification of the rutabaga is acceptable so long as the rutabaga is always able to roll on every axis.
|Year||First Place||Second Place||Third Place|
|2001||James Neiderhardt||Random woman from the West Coast||Christi Sobel|
|2002||David Tregaskis||Jane North||Mark Tucker|
|2003||Laura Whiting||Tom "Darth Baga" Torello||Jerry Waid|
|2004||Eric Nicholson||-||Harminder "The Beast"|
|2005||Kevin Waskelis||Rena Grossman||-|
|2006||Artemis Inzinnia||Ray Schlather||Gavin “The Gavinator”|
|2007||Adele Lawless||Paul Sopor||Dru Santiago|
|2008||Tom Mansell||Ray Schlather||David Kingsbury|
|2009||Lauretta "Hot and Spicy" Dolch||Steve Paisley||Andy Poshadel|
|2010||Nate Nicholson||Christi Sobel||Sam Moody|
|2011||Steve Paisley (two-time finisher)||James Harrod||Michael Glos|
|2012||Dave Townsend||“Mr. Sushi from Japan”|
|2013||Matt Christian||Tom McCulloch||Thomas Carter Nicholson|
|2014||Todd Stein||Jeremy Betterly||Kevin Luke|
- In 2002, 8-year-old David Tregaskis took the gold. Tregaskis was also noted as the youngest competitor in 2003.
- In 2004, Eric Nicholson bested the competition for gold at age 10.
- In 2005, team Curlicious, composed of students from Cornell University, sported two of the top three finishers. Kevin Waskelis and Rena Grossman, both of Curlicious, took gold and silver respectively.
- In 2008, the #41 rutabaga collided with a wooden barrier and split into two pieces. On inspection, the rutabaga was found to be rotten in the middle. In a controversial decision, the crowd voted to award contestant #41 a replacement rutabaga and another throw. That rutabaga was awarded to Tom Mansell, who went on to win first place in the 2008 competition.
- To date, no champion has ever successfully defended his or her title, though in 2008 Ray Schlather became the only curler to medal twice, taking the silver again after a similar performance in 2006. In 2011, Steve Paisley, who took second place in 2009, returned with his vintage, frozen rutabaga to take the gold medal at the Curl.