Each contestant picks out three cherries from a bucket, and one at a time, they put the cherry in their mouth and they chew all the meat off, so all that’s left is the cherry pit. And then, they stand at a with their feet on the line, and they spit the pit forward, and they do that three times. And the longest distance is recorded by me with a special measuring stick as the official distance for each contestant. I actually started when I was 10 years old. My dad was the cherry pit spitter. He’d worked in the fields and things like that. You don’t have to do a lot of training for this. Once you’ve got your technique down, I found actually if you don’t do too much training, you’re better off. So you know, I’ll go out in the driveway and maybe about a week before, spit anywhere from five to ten a day, and that’s about it. I personally think it’s kind of fun. My mother doesn’t think that her daughter should know how to spit a cherry pit, as it’s not very ladylike. But I enjoyed the fact that my dad taught me and it’s a fun thing to do to come out here.
The cherry pit spit is open to anybody. It’s free. In the morning, starting about ten o’clock, people arrive, and they queue up, and they spit their pits,and based on those results, by noon, we determine the top ten people in each of the age categories, as you see right behind me. Back in 1974, dad was looking for something to do with cherry pits. You eat a cherry and there’s this pit and there’s nothing more natural than to spit it. You can spit a watermelon seed. You can, maybe, toss an apricot pit. But we’ve stuck with the cherry pit spitting. As dad used to say, you know, “there’s nothing better to do with a pit after you’ve eaten the cherry”.