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SALEM A jumping good time at frog contest



Published: Sun, July 28, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



A Mark Twain tale serves as catalyst for these light-hearted competitions.

By NORMAN LEIGH

VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU

SALEM -- Where can you see politicians show off their legs or watch kids and adults cheering the athletic prowess of slimy amphibians?

In Salem on Saturday afternoon.

That's when the Salem Lions Club is hosting a frog-jumping contest intended to benefit the organization's civic projects.

"I thought it would be good for Salem," said organizer Greg Shaffer, a Lions Club member.

Shaffer likened the event to a greased-pig contest, in which lightheartedness and frivolity are the order of the day.

If you can't laugh at a frog-jumping contest, "you need a serious attitude adjustment," Shaffer said. "It's intended to make people smile."

Frog jumping matches are held throughout the country. Most can trace their heritage to the Mark Twain yarn titled "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County."

When and where

Salem's version begins at 12:30 p.m. Aug. 3 in the municipal parking lot off East Pershing Street between Penn Street and South Lundy Avenue in Salem's downtown.

Before the frogs start jumping, area politicians are expected to participate in a "Sexy Legs Contest." The line-up for that event has yet to be finalized.

At 1 p.m., the first of several preliminary heats will start in the frog-jumping contest.

Frogs will be placed in the center of a ring and let go. Winners will be determined by measuring how far from the center the frogs can travel in three jumps, Shaffer explained.

Preliminary matches will determine a field of finalists for the grand finale and declaration of overall champion.

The frog jumping could last most of the afternoon, Shaffer said.

Trophies and cash prizes will be handed out to the winners. No contestant will walk away empty-handed. Every one entering a frog will get a certificate of participation.

To capture a frog in the wild, Shaffer recommends stalking them in ponds or creeks after dark. The standard method is to shine a light in the frog's eyes, which mesmerizes them, and snatch them as they stare into the light.

The entry fee for the jumping contest is $1 per frog for contestants 10 years old or younger. Participants older than 10 must pay $5 per frog.

No admission will be charged to watch the contest.

Shaffer said he's trying to arrange for refreshment vendors to be on hand.

He's also looking for people willing to pay $30 to help sponsor the event.

Potential vendors or sponsors may contact Shaffer, a Salem businessman, at (330) 337-0093.




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