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Cherry pit spitters pucker up for contest

EAU CLAIRE, MI -- With the Southwest Michigan cherry season fully underway, cherry pit spitters are chomping at the pit to out-distance each other in the upcoming 44th Annual International Cherry Pit Spitting Championship.

Qualification Rounds for the afternoon’s “Olym-Pit” competitions will be held from 10 a.m. until Noon July 1 at Tree-Mendus Fruit Farm near Eau Claire. Finalists show their spit-ability shortly after the 1 p.m. Dignitaries Spit-Off.

Dignitary competitors include state government officials and various Judges, State Representatives and government and industry leaders of the Southwest Michigan area.

Youth, Women and Championship finalist competitions will follow the Dignitaries Competition.

To ensure the integrity of the cherry pit spitting sport, no foreign objects may be held in the spitter’s mouth, which would give an advantage in spitting the pit. Denture racks will be provided for those wishing to remove their teeth.

Contestants will select one to three cherries, as determined by the tournament committee, from the regulation variety (Montmorency) supplied by the tournament committee.

Each cherry is to be inserted in the mouth whole with all soluble solids eaten prior to the spitting of the pit. No part of the cherry may be removed from the mouth after insertion.

Each contestant must spit his/her pit within 60 seconds of the time he/she is called to the line by the tournament judge. If a pit is swallowed, that spit is forfeited. Contestants’ hands must remain below the shoulders (to avoid popping one’s cheeks).

In addition, spitters must stand flat on the ground -- or ground level platform -- to spit and are prohibited from using any kind of mechanical or other device to improve body thrust or spit length (including hydraulic hoists, wall support, etc.).

More competition rules and a list of previous winners and distances is available at This year marks 44 years of unbroken competition for the International Cherry Pit Spitting Championship Tree-Mendus is a family-oriented, agri-tourism destination in Southwest Michigan.

The farm features U-Pick fruit, family recreation and a country store.