2003 Wilmington Blue Rocks Atlas Stone Challenge Exhibition
Wilmington Blue Rocks Atlas Stone Challenge Exhibition
Defending U.S. Champion Steve Kirit will throw out the first pitch at the Wilmington Blue Rocks-Lynchburg Hillcats Single A game Saturday night, May 24 (7:05 p.m.) According to a team official the game is a sellout. After the game and before a fireworks display, over 6,100 fans will watch Kirit, Walt Gogola, Mark Samson Keshishian and Steve Pulcinella take part in the "Atlas Stones Challenge" making it one of the largest crowds to watch a strongman event in the United States. The logo for the shirts for the night was designed by Jake Jones, formerly of PowerMag Magazine. If anyone is interested in purchasing a t-shirt (l-3XL) from the event, please write me at email@example.com for details ($20 each). Pictures will be posted at www.footballstories.com Samson-Power.com and on www.ironsport.com next week.
The weather cooperated and we able to get the competition in.
A capacity crowd of 6,127 fans showed up to see the home team Blue Rocks edge the Lynchburg Hill cats 2-1.
Virtually the entire crowd stay to watch the stones event (There were fireworks after us).
By all accounts the crowd really got into it and cheered for all four competitors.
The order of finish:
1. Steve Kirit
2. Steve Pulcinella
3. Walt Gogola
4. Mark Keshishian
All four guys got all four stones. It was an exhibition so the stones went from 242 - 330 pounds. I may be wrong about the 330 weight.
Kirit (Shirtless) was amazing as expected. As was Pulcinella who did great after an eight- or nine-year layoff from strongman events.
Gogola got screwed and it was because of my inexperience as a promoter.
After Pulcinella's turn, Gogola was next and he was pumped to put on a show. Only there was big problem. The spotters (rookies like me) rolled the first stone off the stand onto a tire that was a little to big for this type of thing.
Incredibly the stone got stuck in the middle if tire...really it did. Walt could only stare at the tire in disbelief.
It took almost five minutes (it seemed like an eternity) and an assortment of knives, hammers, crowbars and a lot of tugging to get the stone free from the tire.
If you can imagine Walt standing there with the crowd chanting "Tire!" "Tire" "Tire" while about five guys worked on getting the tire free. It was funny for everyone but Walt.
When it finally dropped out the crowd roared its biggest roar of the night (including the baseball game). With all the comotion to get the stone free, none of the spotters remembered to wipe it down (there was a misty rain throughout the night) and of course it slipped out of Walt's grip. He lost a considerable amount of time because of the slick stone.
My fault all the way.
But the crowd loved every minute of the exibition and the Blue Rocks seriously want it back next year or really anytime we want to do. To me that is the best barometer of a successful event...getting invited back.
I am working with some other entities in the Philly area that will put strongman in front of large crowds and more mainstream media. Obviously all through the auspices of Jim Reese, Jim Davis and X-treme Strongman.
The Blue Rocks took out a lot of print and radio ads pumping up the contest and Steve Kirit's appearence in the Delaware Valley.
Also the Bucks County Courier Times and the News Journal helped out with stories.
CN8 did a nice and very funny bit with Walt and Steve during the week.
CN8 also talked it up during Friday night's broadcasted game against the Hillcats ... with Cal Ripkin on hand.
All four guys signed autographs during the game on the concourse and Walt's and Kirit's table looked like a scene from DADDY DAY CARE there were so many 8 to 10 year old boys climbing all over them.
Not bad for a 15 minute contest.