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Community Roots: Selections from the Local Legacies Project
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10-time champ "Pellet Gun" Krause, July 1997
Ten-time winner Cheery Pit Spit champ "Pellet Gun" Krause, July 1997. Photo courtesy Dowagiac Daily News

International Cherry Pit Spitting Championship

Each July since 1974, hundreds of people from across the country and around the world gather for the International Cherry Pit Spitting Championship. The contest marks the beginning of the tart cherry harvest for southwest Michigan. Up until 1993, Rick Krause of Arizona held the world record with a spit of 72' 7 1/2". The current Guiness world record is 95' 9 1/2". In 1998, Brian Kraus, son of Rick Krause, spat 72' 11" to break his father's North American record set in 1988. The qualification round is open to anyone of any age.

The Cherry Pit Spit began in 1974, when Herb Teichman, who, with his family, owns and operates Tree-Mendus Fruit and grows one of Michigan's largest cherry crops, was looking for "something to do" with cherry pits. Growing from a neighborhood get-together to an international competition, the Cherry Pit Spit is recognized by the Guiness Book of World Records as an official competition. Herb Teichman notes: "It's a nutritious sport and the most entertaining way to dispose of the pit after you've eaten the cherry....The Pit Spit's persistent popularity is a global demonstration that healthy eating, deep breathing and physical exercise can be accomplished simultaneously, in public, with only a minimal loss of dignity."

Project documentation includes a one-page informational sheet; the official rules ("Denture racks will be provided for those who wish to remove their teeth"); two local newspaper articles and an image on disk.

Originally submitted by: Fred Upton, Representative (6th District).

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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