Frying pans fly at skillet toss competition

09/01/08 7:50AM Amy Noyes
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AP Photo/R. Bukaty
(Host) The Champlain Valley Fair winds to a close and the Vermont State Fair is just getting underway. All this week we're taking a look at some of the people that make fair season so memorable.

The Lamoille County Field Days is home to a different sort of contest - The Northern Vermont Ladies' Underhanded Skillet Tossing Competition. It's an annual tradition for some competitors. Even childbirth six years ago couldn't keep champion Tracy Laporte away...

(Chauvin over loudspeaker) "It's just about 5:00. We are going to start the Lamoille County Field Days Ladies' Underhanded Skillet Toss..."

(Chauvin)" My name is Jessica Chauvin and I am the Vice President of Lamoille County Field Days, as well as the Director and Host of the Skillet Toss."

(loudspeaker in background) "Okay, now we're going to get underway in the Mrs. Division. And I'll read off all the names again and anyone who is here, come down."

(competitors and audience in foreground:)

(Laporte) "It's very important to listen to your husband right now..."
(Richard Blood) "You're not cookin' eggs out there."
(Laporte) "...If he's supporting you, that's wonderful."
(Carla Blood) "Be the skillet. Be the skillet."
(Loudspeaker) "Robin Hill, Penny Reen, Sandra Cram, Roberta Foster, Carla Blood, Shelia Lucier, Tracey Laporte..."

(Chauvin) "She's one of our favorites. She actually was due for a baby and she went into labor a couple hours after throwing a skillet."

(Laporte) "I threw it at six and he was born at 11:50 in the evening, and, um I think I had five minute contractions during the throw."

(Forest Laporte) "My birthday's tomorrow."

(Laporte) "I think I'm going to do the semicircle, ah, roundup... My husband deterred me from that last year."

(loudspeaker) ... "And up next we have Tracey Laporte ("Go Tracey!" applause).

(thud)

(cheers, applause)(loudspeaker) "There you go, nice job. Fifty-three feet, eleven inches for her first throw."

(Applause)

(Laporte) "You have to take your time when you throw it. You need that centrifugal force; you have to hold it more towards the end. I don't know. I don't even remember how I was holding it. There's no rhyme or reason to it. I think it's just the wind-up. See I like to win overall. I'm not happy if I don't win overall, and I haven't."

(Chauvin) "The trophies that the ladies win, we provide them with a cast iron skillet and a plaque that's made that says the year and the name of the event for each winner."

(Osborne) "So Tracey, do you practice with all your trophies from other years or do they have the wrong kind of handle?"
(Laporte) "I give them away."
(Osborne) "You give them away?"
(Laporte) "Yeah. It's too much. I don't have room for them all. I just keep the ribbons. They're all in a little box."
(Osborne) "So what do you use to practice with?"
(Laporte) "I don't."
(Osborne) "No."
(Laporte) "No, I don't. I milk goats. But if I milk two goats, then I get Carpal Tunnel and it's all over. One goat's perfect."

AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty

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