BLOOMER — A reigning champion has nabbed the first place spot for the second year in a row at the annual Bloomer Jump Rope Championship on Saturday.
Turner Czekalski, a Bloomer fifth-grader, took home the biggest prize of the evening with 62 jumps in 10 seconds, narrowly beating his 2017 winning score of 61.
The competition — which originated in Bloomer in 1960 with physical education teacher Wally Mohrman, who began the contest and a precision rope-jumping group called the Swinging Safari — celebrated its 58th year Saturday.
Paul Morning, a Bloomer native and the reigning speed rope jump record holder with 72 jumps in 10 seconds, said it’s not rare to see one student take the crown several years in a row at the annual competition.
Following in Morning’s footsteps, two Bloomer students have enjoyed dominance over previous years. Alex Skaw held the top spot for five years running, from 2006 to 2010, and Vaughn Zwiefelhofer had a five-year run as well, which was only interrupted by Turner Czekalski’s 2017 win.
And in that tradition, Saturday evening, Czekalski — who before the final round said his strategy was simply “trying my best not to trip” — won big.
“Epecially if they’re talented and good jumpers, they want to win. They’ll practice, and that’s what the difference is,” Morning said.
Brothers Dawson and Sawyer Van Vleet agreed. The two were spotted at Bloomer High School practicing their technique before the finals at 3 pm. Saturday, said their best jumps were 45 and 56, respectively.
Morning’s record of 72, however, still stood after Saturday’s final rounds, though the record holder said he’s “just waiting for someone to take it away.”
Morning’s single piece of advice to would-be jumpers? Just slow down.
“It’s called a speed rope jumping contest, but it’s an accuracy contest,” he said. “You can be fast, but if you miss, you lose. You’ve got to jump over every jump.”
Each jumper gets two 10-second rounds to pile up as many jumps as they can. The key is to have a solid first round, Morning said. Then, on the second round, “punch it and see if you can really turn up the heat.”
Morning’s mother, Dolores Morning, was also present at the final round at Bloomer High School Saturday. Her personal record is 14 jumps, she said, laughing, but she did “a lot of counting for the kids who jumped at home.”
For more information about the Bloomer Speed Rope Jump Contest, visit http://www.bloomerchamber.com/.