September 4, 2011

Women flock to compete in pan-throwing contest

By Rebekah Metzler
MaineToday Media State House Writer

WINDSOR -- More than 60 women from all over New England participated in the Windsor Fair's annual Fry Pan Throwing Contest on Saturday afternoon in the fair's Fountain Park. But in the end, a local woman won the grand prize -- a brand new, one-egg skillet, the champion's ribbon and a $50 check.

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Betsy Fisichella, of Stoneham, Mass., tosses the frying pan in the contest on Saturday afternoon at the Windsor Fair.

Staff photo by Joe Phelan

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Officials measure the distance a frying pan was tossed during the contest on Saturday afternoon at the Windsor Fair. The pans tossed in competiton aren't regular cast iron ones, but are made from steel.

Staff photo by Joe Phelan

Additional Photos Below

Becky Hapgood of China out-threw the field for her first win of the competition, though she's participated in the past.

"This is my third year," she said. "My best friend has won the past two years, but she came in second in her age category so we couldn't have a throw-off."

The competition rewards distance and accuracy, with the distance of the pan from the course's center line getting subtracted from the total distance of the throw. Throws that fall out of bounds are disqualified. Contestants, who get to use the longest distance of their two throws, were split into four age categories.

The winner of each category faced off in the final round, which began more than 90 minutes after the first throw. A couple hundred people gathered to watch the initial rounds, but interest waned as the afternoon wore on. Hapgood, who competed in the 40- to 64-year-old age group, said her softball playing aided her tosses, the best of which measured 81 feet.

Arthur Strout, Windsor's fire chief and fair trustee, provided entertainment in between tosses as the competition's host.

Strout said the most successful throwers usually grip the specially made steel pan on the edge but not on the actual handle.

"And the longer you can get a good fast step off," the farther it's going to go, he said.

"I think that trajectory has a lot to do with it," he added.

Early in the competition, the crowd received a reminder to pay attention -- one contestant tossed a pan high in the air that came hurtling down towards a group of spectators. Fortunately, no one was struck.

That's never happened before in the three or four years of the competition, Strout said.

"That's a very rare occasion. I think I've gotten closer to getting hit than any of the fans," he said. "It's something new and fun to have the competition because it really isn't for the money, it's for the sport of it. It's a good time, everybody enjoys it, all ages."

State Rep. Karen Foster, R-Augusta, who helped organize the event, invited all the participants to come again next year.

Rebekah Metzler -- 620-7016

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Additional Photos

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Karen Donovan, of Lisbon, tosses a frying pan in front of a crowd of spectators on Saturday afternoon at the Windsor Fair.

Staff photo by Joe Phelan


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