Krause retains crown in 2017 spit-off

Farmers Advance
Ten-year-old Joshua Hester, Coloma, MI, was the 2016 9-12-year-old division winner, and was back in 2017 to compete.

EAU CLAIRE, MI -- Experience prevailed as Rick “Pellet Gun” Krause, 63, of Sanders, AZ captured his 17th victory as the 2017 International Cherry Pit Spitting Champion here at Tree-Mendus Fruit Farm, Eau Claire, MI. Pellet Gun shot his pit 57’ 11” to retain his title as International Champion.

Second place honors went to Paul Marek, 48, Traverse City, MI. Of the four Marek’s qualified to spit in the afternoon contests, three found their way into the winner’s circle. 

Along with their father, Alex, 8, and Austin, 5, each won their respective youth age group divisions with pit spit distances of 20’ 9” (6-8 Year Olds) and 11’ 6-1/2” (5 and Under). Matriarch Sarah Marek was unable to muster the bluster to beat Marlene “Machine Gun” Krause, who took top honors in the Women’s Competition with a powerful propulsion of 39’ 4-1/2” for her eighth win. 

Machine Gun, wife of Pellet Gun, and her daughter, Marcella Spencer, 29, of Sanders, AZ, were both among the afternoon qualified contenders.

Reid Gillis, 11, of Granger IN, spat 23’ 7-1/2”to become the top spitter in the 9-12 Year Old division.

While the Krause, Bartz and Lessard names are familiar in the world of cherry pit spitting, some other names dominated the scoreboard of qualified spitters. 

Family names, Flenar and Marek occurred four times each, and Metz and Hester five times each. Ten-year-old Joshua Hester, 10, Coloma, MI, was even among the contenders for the overall Championship. His spit of was 33’ 1/2” narrowly bettered his father, Kevin Hester’s best spit of 32’ 9-1/2”. Joshua was the 2016 9-12 year old division winner.

Paul Marek, Traverse City, MI, took second place honors with his 40' 3.5" spit.

The top 10 contestants from the morning Qualification Rounds via for the International Champ title. Additional top spitters are promoted to the appropriate division in the afternoon Youth and Women’s competitions.

Pipestone Berrien Township Eau Claire Fire Chief Norm Carl, Jr., 46, of Eau Claire, MI, captured the Dignitary Champion title with a spit of 29’ 10-1/2”. The Honorable Sterling Schrock, Berrien County Trial Court, was second at 26’6”. Judge Schrock, St. Joseph, MI, was the 2016 Dignitary Spit-Off Champ. 

Madeline Schrock, St. Joseph, MI opened the festivities with the National Anthem and Pure International Miss Michigan Kayla Flenar initiated the Official Cherry Pit Spitting Court with first official spit, spat at a distance of 13’ 10”.

Berrien County Trial Court Judge Sterling Schrock and Berrien County Sheriff served as Official Timekeeper and Line Judge, respectively. Measurement Judge Dave Bromilow ruled on contestant’s heights for determination of the 2” base foul-line handicap (over four feet in height. Dave Bromilow served as Handicap Measurement Judge. 

Lisa Bromilow provided assistance for spitter registration. Distance Judge Leona Foster measured the final resting place of the propelled cherry pit. Monica Teichman and Lynne Sage were the Official Tournament Judges. International Cherry Pit Spitting Championship founder Herb Teichman presided as Tournament Judge Emeritus.

The 45th International Cherry Pit Spitting Championship will be July 7, 2018 at Tree-Mendus Fruit Farm, Eau Claire, MI.

Tree-Mendus is a family-oriented, agri-tourism destination in Southwest Michigan. The farm features U-Pick fruit, family recreation, and a country store. For more information on this year’s event, visit or call 877-863-3276.


Rick “Pellet Gun” Krause, Sanders, AZ – 57’ 11”

Paul Marek, Traverse City, MI – 40’ 3.5”

Women’s Division

Marlene Krause, Sanders, AZ – 39’ 4-1/2”

Danielle Flenar, Niles, MI – 36’ 7”

Youth 9-12

Reid Gillis (11), Granger, IN – 23’ 7-1/2”

Keziah Metz (11), Sodus, MI – 22’ 8”

Youth 6-8

Alex Marek (8), Traverse City, MI – 20’9”

Hope Hester (7), Coloma, MI – 15’ 7-1/2”

Youth 5 & Under

Austin Marek (5), Traverse City, MI – 11’ 6-1/2”

Lulu Jones (4), St. Joseph, MI – 7’


Fire Chief Norm Carl, Jr., Eau Claire, MI – 29’ 1-1/2”

The Honorable Sterling Schrock, St. Joseph, MI – 26’ 6”

Sheriff Paul Bailey, Berrien Center, MI – 22’ 11”