EAU CLAIRE, Mich. – Matt "BB Gun" Krause won his first-ever International Cherry Pit Spitting Championship on Saturday, returning the crown to a family that has dominated the annual competition in southwestern Michigan for four decades.
Krause was crowned the most "spit-tacular" competitor at the championship event held at Tree-Mendus Fruit Farm, just north of the Indiana border.
But to be the champ, the 30-year-old Krause first had to beat out a competitive field that included fellow family members, who also were former champions. Krause's father, Rick "Pellet Gun" Krause, and older brother, Brian "Young Gun" Krause, had won 24 of the previous 39 championships.
But Matt's 41 foot-six-and-a-half-inch launch was enough to claim the crown for the Dimondale resident.
Matt's win made it 25 of 40 for the Krauses since owner Herb Teichman launched the tournament in 1974 as a lark — but also to mark the region's tart cherry harvest.
Teichman's daughter-in-law, Monica Teichman, said spitters braved a serious headwind Saturday, causing them not to "get any serious length" to their attempts.
Still, she said the Krause family was "really excited" Matt won.
Second place went to Mark Yelo of Oswego, Ill., who competition spokeswoman Lynne Sage said visited the farm to pick fruit with his family and ended up coming about a foot short of taking home the pit-spitting title.
After his victory, Matt Krause was presented with the trademark championship belt by last year's winner, Ron Matt of Chicago.