September 1, 2013

Proper fry pan throwing involves a secret recipe

Windsor Fair ladies go the distance, despite some problems getting a grip in the 80-plus-degree heat.

By MICHAEL SHEPHERD Kennebec Journal

WINDSOR - You'd think the Ladies Fry Pan Throwing Contest at the annual Windsor Fair is pretty simple, not requiring much technique or thought.

Jodi Lucas, 41, of Auburn competes in the Ladies Skillet Toss contest on Saturday at the Windsor Fair.

Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

But Ingrid Prikryl, 33, of Windsor, sitting with China residents Lori Hawk and Becky Hapgood after she won her age group Saturday afternoon with two throws adding up to about 69 feet, begs to differ.

"They leaked me the secret," the second-year participant said of Hawk and Hapgood.

Don't bother asking what the secret is, though. That's among the three of them.

All Hapgood -- 43 and the overall champion in 2011 -- would say is "rollers go out of bounds."

The contest doesn't have too many rules. There are four age groups and each woman gets to throw twice. The throws are measured for cumulative distance, minus the pans' distances from a center line on the course.

Contest organizer Karen Foster said the two nearly 2-pound steel skillets are custom-made in Fryeburg.

They cost $150 apiece, she said, but they're durable. The fair has used them in each of the five years that it has held the contest. Other fairs use cast iron, Foster said, but handles often break off because of the wear and tear.

If the pan rolls out of bounds or the thrower steps over the board at the front of the course, that throw is disqualified from the final total.

Kelly Keezer, 27, of South China found that out the hard way Saturday. Both of her throws rolled out of bounds.

Her friend Kelley Mullens, 27, of Windsor also underachieved, tossing the two pans more than 41 feet combined after a 55-foot-plus showing last year.

Both blamed the weather. It was above 80 degrees and sunny Saturday afternoon at the fair, and there was little shade around the course.

"You can't get the grip you usually get," Keezer said.

"It's hot," Mullens added. "You just don't have that energy."

Foster said 65 women participated in the event Saturday, down from 77 last year but in keeping with numbers from past years.

Keezer gave a clue as to why.

"It gets your frustration out, to an extent," she said. "I have a lot, but I still didn't do good."

But "the secret" worked wonders for Prikryl on Saturday. She won her age group by inches over Hapgood, who took second.

Then she nipped Hawk, 52, in the overall championship, winning the title of "grand champion," a trophy, ribbon and a $50 check.

"I got lucky," Prikryl said. "I sat with the right people."

Michael Shepherd can be reached at 621-5632 or at:


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