The WINNERS of the 2015 International Rutabaga Curling Championship are: .... (cabbage roll) ....
Turnip Toss *
GOLD - Jocely Arms-Roberts, aka. "J-Tosser" (Canada) **
SILVER - Isaac Albrecht, aka. "Isaac"
BRONZE - Logan, aka. "Looooo!" (Terrace Place)
* This year, the closest-ever-ever throw was by Genevieve Z., landing ATOP the target, bringing back shades of the 2006 controversial win by Artemis Inzinnia, who was ALSO 18-months old at the time. Refs were in debate as to the legality of the turnip not actually touching the planks when Genevieve suddenly withdrew from the competition due to being cranky, according to her mom.
** First-time Canada Gold! (They're making us pay for the hockey situation...) May have been a Canadian last year, we're looking into the rumors.
GOLD - Mike Seubert, aka. "Chew-'baga" (Strong Island, NY)
SILVER - Hilary Lukas (Ithaca League of Woman Rollers)
BRONZE - Jane Kress, aka. "Freya the Viking Goddess"
We will have a complete rundown on the website in a few days, and will announce that update here.
MANY THANKS to the participants, the refs, CEO Aaron Munzer (Curl Expert Organizer), the venders, and "God", who had an okay throw in round two, but didn't make it to the finals.
After a deceptively warm December, the day of the Curl was back to a more normal temperature for this time of year – around 10-20 degrees colder than the past few weeks and below freezing. We had a dusting of snow that morning, and wind was going to be a little biting coming off the lake. It was going to be a cold one, and this is the kind of thing that separates the amateurs of this sport from the true amateurs. Seasoned athletes knew to put on layers. (In one case, actually 6 layers, both top AND bottom). This may have separated the wheat from the chaff and precluded a few “Sunday drivers” from showing up this Saturday morning. Regardless, we had probably around 300 people watch these games and had a strong showing of 17 in the 8-and-under division, and 85 in the 9-and-up division (aka. The Geezer Squad).
Some previous champions started to show up with medals on display. Some of those dressed up for the event started getting into character. We had an awesome guitar player busker providing early backdrop music. The to-be-winner of the curl was smartly taking several practice throws, along with some other soon-to-be winners, showing that last-minute practice is often a really good way to prepare.
The crowd was getting amped up and it was time for the MCs to get their vocal chords warmed up too. Carolina (‘-EEnah”) interviewed a red-haired newbie referee who was flown in last minute. He used to work for the NFL but there was ‘the incident that we shall not talk about’ that he was involved in during the last Super Bowl. Let’s just say this ref is glad to no longer be “under pressure”.
Families got their tosses in and pictures taken. We had a small selection of protestors gamely holding signs. Their artichoke hearts were in it. Excitement mounted like a … well, I’ll hold off on metaphors for that one. The music swelled as the torch got closer and closer and then we saw it! Such an amazing moment to see smoke and burning embers gently fall from the heights of this very tall God we commissioned just for this occasion! (God’s his middle name I believe.) The torch arrived to much fanfare and the game torch was lit and the athletes showed us their best shot-put poses as they processed down and back along the market.
We then had a solemn thank you and goodbye to Robin Ostfeld and Peter MacDonald who passed away this year and had been an integral part of the market as well. They will be missed.
Now the crowd was treated to the splendiferous Rutabaga Chorus directed by Ithaca’s own Jennifer Birnbaum. Nothing says Rutabaga Curl like the Rutabaga Chorus! Our first throw was by George McGonigal – the Farmers’ Market’s 1st Ward Alderperson who wowed us with a bathrobe specially imported from Hugh Hefner’s hunting cabin. Onward into the Curl!
Deets on Turnip Toss.
For this year’s Curl, Canada decided to get even with the US for the Olympic Hockey upset in 2015 when the US Women’s hockey team beat Canada for the World Championship. We had 3 ½ hurlers from Canada and they all did surprisingly well. For the final Turnip round, Jocelyn Arms-Roberts (“J-Tosser”) stepped up with a confidence that only comes from knowing how to make Poutine, and launched a fine throw to eke out a win for the FIRST gold medal for CANADA in this sport! (Who said it wasn’t international!?) We all applauded politely and congratulated her on her win, because that’s what she would do for us, no doubt, eh? We suspect her parents were the power couple in the Rutabaga Curl portion. (They both placed well, but not well enough for ‘Mercan Rutabaga Curling.)
Turnip Toss CONTROVERSY and A POSSIBLE RECORD THROW
Up stepped number 10 Genevieve. This 1½ -years old was, pound for pound, our best athlete of the event, possibly ever. She pulled the cute defense, gaining the refs’ favor, and started waddling toward the target 35’ away. One ref was about to pull out an off-sides flag but instead found himself imitating her walk behind her. As if in a slow-motion replay, Genevieve slowly but surely reached the target, with her coach from the sidelines giving direction. She arrived at the target and placed the turnip ON TOP of the 18” tall target cone. And there it stayed! A perfect throw! The crowd went wild, as this has never happened at a vegetable throwing competition in history. * After the hubbub died down and after the rest of the pack had a throw, it is rumored that her coaches realized not only were the tapes going to be reviewed by the judges, but there would be other tests. The co-coach (aka “Mom”) let the judges know that Genevieve would NOT be competing for the medals as she was now too “cranky” to stay and seemed to “need a nap”.** So, much like Barry Bonds, this record will be in the books forever with an asterisk – or in this case, two.
* (The only thing close was the original rutabaga flattening the town center in the 3rd century BC. See Mythology).
** Some say Genevieve may have had an undercover supply of HGH from one of her coaches, thus she chose to withdrawal before that was found out.
Logan, on discussing his winning strategy, did let it be known that he attributed his medal-earning throw to watching his friend throw and doing it differently. Jocely should know that now that she has the entire US Rutabaga contingent gunning for her medal spot now.
Deets on Rutabaga toss
This was an interesting year for throwers. The rutabagas – for a variety of reasons – were actually considerably smaller this year. Kinda like a SmartCar version of a rutabaga. We assume the Rutabaga Research Center has been designing more aerodynamic versions to try them out. This small-but-powerful size lent itself to a wide assortment of carving techniques. Only perhaps half went with the traditional ‘ball’ shape with many opting for more of a barrel or rolling pin look.
The Curl started out quite boisterously and a number of rutabagas flew fast and furious, possibly aided by the tail wind. The refs were busy doling out penalties as often happens early in the event, as people push the refs for just what they can get away with. (It’s dirty pool, but that’s why we have refs.) The Viking family were particularly notable mostly for the giant horned helmets. Our friend the gent dressed as a rutabaga had a good throw, but not place-worthy. Some past champions came and threw and felt the sting of defeat as they would not move into the next round. The excitement and agony of good throws and bad throws had everyone somewhere between angst, schadenfreude, ecstasy, and stitches. College teams, family teams, people who had accidentally signed up thinking they were donating to a soup kitchen - all threw. Even some of the Gods and Goddesses. Finally we were down to the top 15 competitors and the results were amazing. New winners in all categories! We suspect 2nd place Hilary to have been particularly ready for this competition as she is on the roller derby team and she carved her ‘baga like a little skate wheel. We really liked 3rd place Freya’s hair-do with those spikes, but wonder if that’s her natural color. 1st place Chew-baga later informed the MC he was inspired several years ago by attending this event and seeing this weird guy dressed like a superhero with a helmet and cape. (The MC interviewing Chew-baga blushed self-referentially.)
All in all, the MCs and organizers and refs are continually amazed at the caliber and creativity and general cold-resilience of the athletes from all over the world who come to our little slice of heaven to throw vegetables at a target. May we all aspire to such greatness.
18th Annua (archive)
at high noon
Saturday December 19th, 2015
at the Ithaca Farmers Market Pavilion
10 a.m. -- Ithaca Farmers Market opens for business and registration starts.
11:30 a.m. -- Registration ends and the Torchbearer and Rutabaga Goddess approach the dais, leading the ceremonial parade of the athletes.
12:00 noon -- Games start with the Turnip Toss, Proceed into the three heats of the Rutabaga Curl.
1:00 p.m. -- Break to determine which Curlers will place into final heat.
1:10 Final Heat.
1:30 -- Awards Ceremony, and crowning of the champions.
2 p.m. -- Farmers market closes at Steamboat Landing for the season.
The Vociferous Cruciferous Choir will once again be performing Handel's "Rutabaga Chorus" this year. We are looking for volunteer singers and instrumentalists to join the Choir. If you can carry a tune or a rutabaga, there's a place for you!
Contact Tad Brennan (firstname.lastname@example.org)for details.
Enjoy the fabulous melody of The Rutabaga Curl by Joe Crookston, as well as the beautious music of The Rutabaga Chorus!!!
The sport of Rutabaga Curling was born on a cold December 1996 Market day, the last market day of the season. The few vendors present (perhaps 25 or so this time of year and point in our history) huddled together for warmth and camraderie waiting for an occasional customer. Talk at some point in the day turned to unusual winter sports. Curling of course came up in conversation. None of us knew the rules; but before we knew it vendors' wares were being "hurled" or "curled" down the market's wooden floor. Potatoes, cinnamon rolls, cabbages, loaves of bread, and even frozen chickens were fair game in this impromptu outburst. There were no particular rules this day; we were going for style, distance, and laughs. But one of the vendors, Steve Sierigk (a middle-aged notecard vendor with a sly smile) and currently the self-proclaimed "Most Esteemed Grand Commissioner of the International Rutabaga Curl", saw potential in the innocent play.
The next market season Commissioner Steve codified rules and designed a court of play using market's wooden floor. In 1997 an early form of our sport was born which allowed contestants to throw most any projectile available at market, although rutabagas were supplied. Commissioner Steve astutely recognized the inequities of this first year of organized sport; to level the playing field the Commissioner declared "any projectile besides a rutabaga illegal". Hence the first official Rutabaga Curl was held in 1998.
#1 Dr. Todd Stein, Ithaca, NY
#2 Jeremy Betterly, Sterling, MA
#3 Kevin Luke, Cornell
Congratulations, you three!
2013 Archive: Dec 21
It is with great pride -- and a little bit of jealousy, let's be honest -- that we announce the winners of our 2013 Rutabaga Curl:
1st Place: Matt Christian! (Only 50 inches from the target!)
2nd Place: Tom McCulloch (nice jacket!)
3rd Place: Thomas Carter Nicholson (one of the Nicholson Dynasty, a famed rutabaga power family)