Forget shot-put and tell discus to move over, Madison County has a competition that asks the most important question: How far can a woman throw a skillet?
The question, at least locally, was answered Saturday afternoon during the Madison County Fair with the Ladies’ Skillet Throw.
About 20 women assembled at the fairground’s grandstand to see who could throw the cooking implement the farthest. Competitors were divided into three classes, which were 18-29, 30-45 and 45+.
Women from across the county competed, some willingly, some egged on by peer pressure. The atmosphere was relaxed and jovial, with people in the crowd laughing and cracking jokes.
However, the competition itself was fierce and so were the women’s throws. All four skillets for the toss were left mangled by the end of the competition, with almost all losing handles by the second round. One pan shattered several times into wedges of metal shrapnel.
In the 18-29 class, Erin Niemeyer beat Liz Wilson, the previous reigning champ, with a toss more than 60 feet long compared to Wilson’s 57 feet.
Niemeyer went on to win overall with a toss of 45 feet 4 inches using a skillet with no handle, netting her $75 and a special pan with a plaque in the center, her seventh since her competition started in 2006.
According to Barb Niemeyer, Erin’s mother, Wilson and her daughter have dominated the competition for years.
“She used to do track in high school,” said Barb. “I think it just came naturally from just doing sports in the past.”
Erin joked that practice had nothing to do with it and that she was simply born to throw skillets the length of a bowling lane. In all seriousness, she said she loves competing each year because of its fun, relaxed nature.
“I work in the city and people find it really weird,” she said. “They do a double take and give you a weird look asking, ‘Wait, like the thing you cook with?’ when I tell them I do skillet toss. But honestly, we come together every year and we just have a good time.”
Maximilian Kwiatkowski can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1617 or on Twitter @MSFKwiat.