Keith St. Onge captures Footstock 2017 crownSubmitted: 08/20/2017
Mark Spillane
Mark Spillane
Sports Reporter/Anchor

Keith St. Onge captures Footstock 2017 crown
CRANDON - Some people call it a NASCAR race on water with a crash on every lap. It's party on the shore, and intense competition on the lake. It's really fast, and really bumpy.

"The only way to explain it is, it's like tons of speed bumps, one after another, and you go over it with your car," said 2017 Footstock Open Division Champion Keith St. Onge.

The goal is simple: go over those speed bumps and hold on longer than the competitor next to you. But that's a lot easier said than done.

"Your legs are getting burned out, feet can get burned out, forearms and your grip on the handles can get burned out, the whole thing," said St. Onge.

Footstock is the world's largest endurance barefoot water skiing event. A chance to win the Footstock title makes fighting through that burning pain worth it.

"It just feels awesome to complete it again and to take everyone out, great, great feeling," said St. Onge.

St. Onge won his second Footstock this year and defeated nine-time champion Peter Fleck in the process. But a second place finish for Fleck means so much more than just another trophy.

"I had ruptured my L5 disc and so this has been just kind of a goal to get back physically to where I could compete again," said Fleck.

That back injury stopped Fleck from competing last year. He says now that he's healthy again he's ready for a run at double digits.

"I would like to get number 10 and notch that belt again," said Fleck. "It wasn't in the cards this week but maybe next year."

If Fleck does win next year, he'll have to do it at 55 years old. But he says with his age comes experience, and that's an advantage.

"When you're getting bounced all over the place and you've got a garden hose, the equivalent of a garden hose in your face, you can maintain concentration, and I think that's one of the things that has kept me competitive at my age," said Fleck.

This weekend marked the 31st year for Footstock at Peshtigo Lake in Crandon. More than 120 skiers competed. For more information on barefoot water skiing, click on the link below.

Related Weblinks:
Barefoot Water Skiing

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