Barefooting Seniors

And I’m not talking about people like Bob Mahnke and Mike Netzer, but Judy Meyers, who at the age of 66 is competing in barefooting tournaments. She’s only been at it for 13 years because she didn’t start until she was 53. And according to the Today Show, she’s the oldest women competing in barefoot tournaments.

Judy isn’t the only one though. She inspired Karen Putz, who 26 years ago caught a toe barefooting and went from hard of hearing to being deaf. Karen’s husband heard about Judy on the today show and sent the story to Karen. Inspired by Judy, she decided to take up footing again and flew down to the World Barefoot Center, where Judy volunteers her time, and started barefooting again at the age of 44.

Joann O'Connor & Karen Putz Barefooting Together (Chicago Tribune)

Since then, Judy introduced Karen to Joann, a 61-year old barefooter from Crandon, Wiscosin and the two of them recently spent a few days barefooting together before heading to Footstock to watch the final day of the figure-8 tournament. There, they got to see some of the barefooting legends like Peter Fleck and Keith St Onge, as well as many other senior barefooters sporting the gray hair.

Check out the following links for more about Judy and Karen:

Let’s Meet Grant Johnson

Grant Johnson versus Mike Netzer

When 13-year old Grant Johnson arrived at the Clean Lakes Festival Barefoot Challenge, he planned to only compete in the Junior Division. Being the only junior there, he ended up competing in the OPEN division and became THE crowd favorite as he let all the footers know that he was there to win!

My google bots tracked down this video interview Grant, who took sixth place (out of 30 footers) at the Clean Lakes Festival Barefoot Challenge, beating the likes of Mark Donahue, the 2010 Footstock Champion.

Mike Netzer wins the 2010 Clean Lakes Festival Barefoot Challenge

Mike Netzer beat JJ Link twice to win the 2010 Clean Lakes Festival Barefoot Challenge held at Britingham Park in Madison, WI yesterday. This is the second year in a row that Mike has won this figure-8 tournament, joining Paul Stokes as someone who has claimed this championship more than once and keeping them as the only two people to have ever won this tournament.

JJ Link took second, Luke Brukner took third and Paul Stokes took fourth.

I have a ton of pictures and video to share, but that’ll all need to get organized and edited first.

To wet your appetite, here are just a few of the pictures I took yesterday…

57 years young Mike Netzer managed to outlast the tournament surprise 13 year old Grant Johnson
Mike Netzer beating Luke Brukner
In what would be the longest run of the day under the Capitol Dome, Mike Netzer outlasted Paul Stokes.

More Great Footstock Runs

Here’s some more great runs from Footstock 2010.

The first one features Jeremy Petrie (right) against Luke Bruckner (left) as Jeremy fights to maintain his grip on the handle, re-gripping it many times. Luke wins and goes on to take 6th. Jeremy wins 8th. There’s a lot of re-gripping going on. This video starts after they already made one eight.

Footstock – Jeremy Petrie vs Luke Bruckner

The next features Dan Ehlers, who is hailed as the comeback story of the year at Footstock, who after 21 years took 4th place, versus Keith St Onge, one  of the world’s very best barefooters.

Footstock – Dan Ehlers vs Keith St Onge

Clean Lakes Festival Barefoot Challenge is this Saturday!

The preparations are well underway, and the weatherman is predicting incredible weather for this weekend. (Mid-eighties on Saturday, and upper-sixties for the race on Sunday morning)

Monona Bay is free of weeds this year, and MasterCraft Boats will be pulling the event. We are getting confirmations and early registrations from quite a few footers so it looks like it is going to be bigger and better than ever.

Here is a link to most of the info you will need (this includes the Registration form, maps to the location, and misc information):

Here is the agenda:

I will be setting up the course on Friday afternoon. We may have time for a few practice runs if time permits. As there are no weeds to cut the course through, I anticipate that the course setup will go fairly smoothly, so we should have a little time Friday afternoon for some warmup runs.


Meet and Greet at Chasers 7:00 PM. Chasers will be having food and drink specials for the competitors.


We will open Registration at 8AM. The official start is 10 AM, but we would like to get started earlier. Registration will close at 9:30 AM. As we are anticipating more participants this year, please print out the registration form from the website and have a check PAYABLE TO : Redline or cash. Day of Race Registration will be $50 Pre-Registration is $45. If you participate in both the Figure 8 and the Race, the fee will stay at $55

**You will also need to be a member of USA WaterSki. We will have forms available, but it would be much easier if you do it online ahead of time.

They no longer offer a $10 Temporary Membership, but they have added a Grass Roots Active Membership for $35 that will work for all of the Figure 8 events (provided they are sanctioned as Grass Root Events, which most are. Please print out your membership card and have that available at registration. The Membership is good for 1 year from the date of registration. (THIS IS MANDATORY FOR INSURANCE PURPOSES – NO ONE WILL BE ALLOWED TO SKI WITHOUT PROOF OF USA WATERSKI MEMBERSHIP)

Here is the link to USA Waterski:

The Figure 8 on Saturday morning will start no later than 10 AM. I’d love to be started at 9:30. We hope to be finished by 5:00PM. At that time, everyone is invited to go over to the Clean Lakes Festival at Olin Park, which is about 1 mile away. There will be a beer tent and food available, as well as live music, and other events.


Rumor has it, there will also be a couple of private parties near Lake Waubesa, the sight of the Sunday Morning Barefoot Race. Details to be announced on Saturday.


We will meet at the Beach House, McFarland, WI at 6:30 AM for a 7:00 AM race Boats will be provided, but if anyone has a boat that we can use, please let me know. Depending on how many people can get up that early, we are expecting a good turnout for the race, so we may need an extra boat or two. I’m still waiting on confirmation of getting a boat from the Mad-City Ski Team.

After the race, we will meet back at the Beach House for breakfast. They have awesome walleye and eggs, or omelets with homemade hollandaise sauce.


  • Lodging: There are a number of hotels in the area. Several of the local participants have offered up places to stay as well, so call Bob Mahnke or Paul Stokes on Friday if you need lodging.
  • Clean Lakes Cleanup: If anyone is going to be around on Friday afternoon or Saturday Morning, we are going to organize a cleanup of the floating debris along the shore. We want guys in barefoot suits or Clean Lakes T-shirts cleaning up the area. We are going to take a few pictures to show that barefooters like Clean Lakes as well! I’ll have a few rakes and garbage bags on hand.
  • T-shirts: Be sure and buy the inaugural Clean Lakes Barefoot Challenge T-shirt. They are $20, and proceeds will go to the prize money as well as the Figure 8 Barefoot Series. This T-shirt is sure to be a collectors item. Make sure you support our sponsors as well.


  • Bob Mahnke – (608) 695-6673 mobile
  • Paul Stokes – (608) 333-6584 mobile

How much is 5-1/4 Figure Eights?

According to the YouTube clip, it is 7 minutes and 49 seconds of barefooting around tight corners and through rollers.

Here’s the boat footage of Mark Donahue beating Peter Fleck in the record 5-1/4 figure eights at the 2010 Footstock Open Division held in Crandon, WI on Peshtigo Lake. This forced them both to foot again to decide the championship!

Mark Donahue vs Peter Fleck in 5-1/4 Figure Eights

2010 Footstock Results – The Porn Star Wins!

Based on the multitude of posts showing up on my Facebook News Feed, I’m pretty sure these are official…

First place went to Mark “The Porn Star” Donahue who beat the legend Peter Fleck in a record breaking 5-1/4 Figure-8s’s to take the title of 2010 Footstock Champion! Earlier in the day, Fleck had beaten Donahue to become the last undefeated footer, putting Donahue into the loser’s bracket.

Rounding out the top three was Keith St Onge. Dan Ehllers took fourth, Chris Van Zeeland took fifth, Luke Brukner took sixth and Josh Bruns took seventh.

The last four unbeaten footers were Van Zeeland (he put KSO in to the loser’s bracket), Ehllers, Donahue and Fleck.

Based on the Facebook Status Updates provided by Gary Mueller on the Footstock page, it sounds like Donahue beat KSO with a run longer than 4-1/2 fig-8s to advance to the finals. He then had to beat Fleck twice. The first run was the record breaking 5-1/4 fig-8 and the second run was 3-1/2 fig-8s. Counting all of those fig-8’s up, the Porn Star did 13-1/4 figure-8’s to beat two of the best barefooters in the world.

In the Seniors Division, Peter Fleck took first, Mark Donahue took second and The Mule, Bob Mahnke, took 3rd.

In the Junior Division, Sam Landgraf took first, Nich Ruchti took second, Jake Wiedemeier took third, Jake Smith took fourth and Blake Pluemer took fifth.

Elaine Heller took 1st in the Women’s Division. And from the sounds of it, there were more than a couple pink shirts handed out in the Open Division.

If I’ve made any mistakes, please let me know and I’ll get the story updated. If you have video, pictures, whatever, let me know, I’d like to get it out to the barefooting world.

Ditch Footing Again

Videos of people barefooting in ditches continue to make the rounds. This video is from March of 2009, so it isn’t new, or related to the current flooding issues in southern Wisconsin, but it’s still fun to watch people do crazy, stupid things. I don’t recommend trying this at home (but if you do, send the video my way) since it truly is very dangerous. Enjoy…

Ditch Footing

Barefoot Worlds Kick Off on Saturday

The 2010 Barefoot Worlds kick off this coming Saturday at the Beetzsee Rowing Course in Brandenburg-an-der-Havel near Berlin, Germany. The rowing course has seats for 5,000 spectators and has held as many as 10,000 people. The event runs from Saturday, August 7th thru Sunday, August 15th. Now I’ve never been to Berlin or Germany, but I know lots of people who have, and everyone of them says you can have a ton of fun over there. Plus, they are bound to have some really good beer, and of course really good beer gardens.

By now, many of the participants are likely there, on their way there, or about to leave. To everyone, I wish you all save travels, and of course, good luck in the event.

I’ve read through some of their newsletters (yep, they send them to me) and they are expecting huge crowd for the event, which will be awesome to see for a barefoot tournament.

I’ll do my best to cover the event from 4400 miles away, but I will admit to a conflict on the final weekend of the event… I’ll be competing in the National Show Ski Championships, so my ability to keep close tabs on the event will be hampered that final weekend, but I’ll still do my best. I’ll use the full resources of the interweb to cover the event. There is the significant time difference from there to here, so hopefully I’ll be able to use that to my advantage.

And if you happen to be heading over there and want to be a correspondent for Tales from the Foot, let me know by sending an email to wedge [at] Or if you just a picture or two, send them my way.