Great leap forward for Great Geauga Fair

BURTON – It’s still not easy being green, but on the final day of the 192nd Great Geauga County Fair, frogs took center stage at the fair’s Frog Jumping Competition.

More than 80 agile amphibians packed into the fair’s main arena to test their skills and challenge for the title of farthest leaper.

Organizer Cheryl Carr said that the turnout was par for the course for the event, which Carr said is one of the most popular of the entire weekend.

“We always have a great turnout for the event, and it’s not (very much) advertising,” Carr said. “It’s always really popular with the kids because they have a lot of fun chasing after the frogs.”

And there was plenty of chasing to be had, as making a frog jump on cue is not the easiest task. If things went to plan, the “competitors” were allowed three jumps in a straight line before being measured by contest officials.

The top spot in this year’s competition belonged to defending champion Rooster and its owner, Chardon resident Bond Brewster. No stranger to frog jumping competitions, Rooster also captured the top spot at the Lake County Fair’s frog-jumping competition in early August.

The official Great Geauga County Fair record leap is 14 feet, 8 inches. While Rooster didn’t challenge for the record books this year, it still leapt a respectable 122 inches, or 10 feet, 1 inch.

Second place in the competition went to Trent Hernak of Burton, whose frog Lighting leapt 120 inches, while Allissa Siders of Burton’s frog Lady Gaga made a 110-inch leap.

As for how her talented frog friend gained his prodigious leaping ability? Bond said she thinks Rooster learned to leap as a matter of life or death.

“He’s a wild frog who lives over in my grandma’s pond,” Brewster said. “I think he got his (leaping ability) from constantly running for his life from the herrons around the property.”

So what does a the winner of the competition get for their hard day’s work? First place received $30 and a rather large trophy with a bronze frog adorning the top.

Brewster herself is no stranger to winning competitions, as the high school sophomore attended the event with the crown and sash she earned for being named queen of the Geauga County Maple Festival in May.

Fittingly, the crown-wearing Brewster stopped after the competition to give her amphibian partner a kiss, but later joked that it was probably not the prize Rooster was hoping for.

“I think Rooster just wants to go back to his pond,” Brewster said.