For 27 years they’ve been flinging the fish at the annual Mullet Toss on the beach in front of the Blue Parrot on St. George.
They started mid-morning Saturday with the little kids, who can hurl the fish maybe a couple feet at most, all the way up to the men older than age 17, and they can throw it a country mile.
Well, actually about 150 feet.
In fact, that was the top throw in the first round of the men’s completion, by Brandon Nichols, from Wakulla County.
Right behind him was Franklin County’s Eli Sheets, who hurled it 141 feet, and his cousin Dillon Grant, a former champ, who threw it 137 feet.
The fourth place finisher, a guy from out of town named Jacob, threw it 130 feet, and he too qualified for the one-throw second round that would determine the winner.
Failing to earn a berth was Louisville, Kentucky’s Perry Finley, who two years ago tied the knot with his fiancée Tamara with an island wedding. Evidently, married life has been good to the man, as he settled for nailing a pitcher of beer with an accurate throw.
Also finishing out of the money was last year’s champ, Blake Mears, from Tallahassee, who won the @200 prize money in 2017 with a catapult of 144 feet. He only threw it 123 feet this year.
In the finals, Nichols, 23, who has been throwing for about five years in Panacea, his best a 186-foot loft, showed his consistency, by repeating his 150-foot mark. Grant, complaining of a shoulder injury, managed a 133 foot-throw, and the Jacob guy hurled it 138 feet, but Sheets too could not near Nichols’ distance.
Grant, though, will sort of share in the prize money, in that his wife, Jordon Cherry, of Wakulla County, threw it 101 to finish first and collect $200 among the women.
Morgan Howell, from Leesburg, Georgia, and Jordan Gilkerson, both threw for 91 feet in the first round, and while Howell managed to get a day's best 105-foot throw in the toss-off, 15 feet further than Gilkerson, she had to settle for second place.
In the division for kids 10 and under, Milo Daniel, a fourth grader out of Charleston, South Carolina, whose family has been coming down to the island for 60 years, won it with a 57-foot throw. “I overhanded it with a running start,” said Daniel.
His father, Chadwick, and his younger brother Jeremy, both competed in the adult division, but neither could win a prize like the boy.
Finishing second in the 10 and under group was Isaac Medders, out of Sylvester, Georgia, with a 54-foot effort, and Preston Griffin , with a 51-foot try for third place.
Among youth age 11 to 13, Apalachicola’s Weston Bockleman threw it 101 feet to win, followed by Maya Itzkovitz, who managed a 91-foot throw for second place, and Natalie Medder, from Sylvester, Georgia, who finished in third with a 72-foot toss.
In the 14 to 16 age group, Franklin County High School junior won a bike with an excellent 141-foot throw, narrowly edging out, by a single foot, 15-year-old Patrick Stewart, from Whitesburg, Kentucky.
No teams took part in the launch completion, which can win a team $1,000 if they break the world’s record of 533 feet.
A portion of the proceeds, said Blue Parrot owner George Joanos, who emceed the affair along with Brian Bowen, will go towards the Franklin’s Promise Coalition.