Atlanta third grader Felix Elgerrista, at left, picks out his fish with Steve Rash, at right. [ AM Photo ]
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Fish flinging flourishes

With the exception of a little blow-up at the end, the 32nd annual Mullet Toss on St. George Island went pretty darn well.

The crowd was enormous on the beach adjacent to the Blue Parrot Oceanfront Cafe, and the number of participants who signed up in the divisions, from little tykes under age 10, all the way up to adult men and women, was as big as ever.

Restaurateurs George Joanos and Steve Rash were stalwart in their roles beneath the broiling sun, as each took turns handing out mullets to each participant.

Local musician Dominic Milner was silver-tongued calling out each contestant, taking time from a busy schedule singing at places running from the Monticello Opera House to the Indian Pass Raw Bar to the Red Pirate, to fill in for an ailing announcer.

Among kids 10 and under, Jake Kampf from Tallahassee won for tossing the mullet 75 feet 6 inches. The age group of kids 11 through 13 was won by Tallahassee’s Bridger Avant, for a throw of 87 feet 5 inches. Each won a fishing pole and tackle box.

The older age group for kids, ages 14 to 16, was won by Franklin County junior quarterback Owen Juno, as the St. George Islander hurled the mullet 130 feet, about the equivalent of a 43-yard pass, to take home a bicycle.

The hotly contested women’s division saw perennial winner, Loismay Provenzano Collier, from Panama City, upended by Meghan Silvers, of Kingston, Tennessee. She threw it 98 feet 3 inches, a little more than four feet further than Collier, and pocketed $200 for her win. 

In the men’s division, Robert Wilhoit, one of the OGs who has plenty of victories to his credit, was unable to bring home the title for the locals. His throw fell short by two feet to the winning effort by Cole Hampton, 24, of Edwardsville, Illinois, which was 152 feet.

“I wanted to hold it down for the home team,” said Wilhoit.

He decided to enter in honor of his dad, who passed away two years ago.

The men’s winner plays third base for the University of Indianapolis Greyhounds, which recently finished play in NCAA Division II World Series in Cary, North Carolina, after winning the Midwest Regional and Midwest Super Regional.

Hampton was an All-Great Lakes Valley Conference second-team selection after hitting .333 with seven home runs and a team-leading 18 doubles during the regular season.

He was confident he might take the win while being on vacation with the Hampton and Schmidt families, but Wilhoit gave him a run for his money.

“I figured my arm was better than the rest of the population,” said Hampton. 

He said he planned to share his $200 winnings with his cousin, “to pay him back for all the beer he bought us.”

After congratulating Hampton on his win, Wilhoit said he planned a return in 2025. “I’m going to win it next year,” he told Hampton. “Unless you’re here.”

The afternoon ended with the team of “McMillan and Wifes” once again trying to secure a $100 prize in the freestyle division with the return of their air pressure powered cannon. The apparatus blew up before they could get their shot off, but fortunately it appeared no one was injured.

A portion of the proceeds this year went to Franklin’s Promise.

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Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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