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Rockin’ for the Rink

Skippers compete for title

POLSON –  One of the quirkiest sports championships in Montana made a big splash on Saturday during the fourth annual Flathead Lake Rock Skipping Championship.

“This is a community service to support the ice rink, so I really wanted to do this to help them,” Tom Adrignola said. He won first place in the men’s division by skipping his rock 20 times. He said getting a rock to skip across the water involved several elements including power, luck and a good spin on just the right water. “It was a perfect day for rock skipping,” he said. 

Twenty-nine rock-skippers converged along the shores of Flathead Lake in Polson with the aim to take their best shot at winning the golden rock trophy and coveted title of “Flathead Rock Skipping Champion” at one the most prestigious tournaments in the state.

The Flathead Lake Rock Skipping Championship is a bring-your-own-rocks event, and while there may be a gillion good rocks along the shore, many rock-skippers show up with a stockpiled arsenal of handpicked rocks. 

The Great Scots opened the event with a bagpipe-led procession from the Cove Deli and Pizza to the rock-skipping staging area at Riverside Park. Once in the park, the skippers made their way down one-by-one to the lake’s edge and took turns skipping their rocks across the water’s surface as a panel of three judges, Geri Browning, Kate Taylor and Hillary Lozar, attempted to count the number of skips of each thrown rock. 

Spectators gathered along the shore’s edge to cheer loudly at some amazing throws and groaned at the kerplunks. When the last rock was thrown, skippers and fans wandered back to the deli for a slice or two of pizza and some socializing while waiting for the final scores. 

The Best Throw of the Day for boys under 12 years old was awarded to Tias Fyant for 10 skips across the lake. Chenoa Villegas came in first for the girls under 12 years old with five skips. Jen “the Skipper” Kern came in first place with a Best Throw with 14 skips in the women’s division. Tom “Golden Stones” Adrignola defended his 2017 title with 20 skips in the men’s division. 

The Mission Valley Ice Arena Association will receive the proceeds from the event. The association manages the rock skipping championships as a fundraiser to help build the Mission Valley Ice Arena and develop a youth and adult skating, curling and hockey program. For more information about the MVIAA, visit


Girls under 12 

First place – Chenoa Villegas, 5 skips

Boys under 12

First place – Tias Fyant,  10 skips

Second place – Lex Avison, 7 skips

Third place – Patrick Villegas, 5 skips

            Declan Avison, 5 skips


First place – Jen Kern, 14 skips

Second place – Lisa Heinle, 9 skips

             Jo Schoenecker, 9 skips

      Nancy Sendler, 9 skips

Third place – Ellie Moore, 7 skips


First place – Tom Adrignola, 20 skips

Second place – George Murphy, 16 skips

                       Ryan Townsend, 16 skips

Third place – Micah Doty, 15 skips

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