This was the text I received at 9:48 p.m. Saturday, July 7, from Dan Polivka, Trumbull County commissioner: ''Skillet toss Sunday @ 10 am."
I laughed, went to my girlfriend and asked, ''Feel like going to the Trumbull County Fair tomorrow morning?''
This story begins a dozen years ago when I was a cub reporter here at the Tribune Chronicle. I was assigned to cover the fair in Bazetta, every day, and on the last day, I found myself in a draft horse ring throwing a 6-inch, roughly five pound cast iron skillet against Polivka, then a councilman in Warren and member of the fair's board of directors.
I bested him then, underhand throwing it officially 61 feet, 7 inches to Polivka's 58 feet, 8 inches.
On our second, unofficial tosses, I reached 75 feet and Polivka about 73 feet.
Sometimes Polivka - I see him regularly as the county government / politics reporter, and he's also the chairman of the Democratic Party here in Trumbull County - brings up the skillet toss competition. We laugh and he almost always ends the conversation suggesting there be a re-match.
It didn't happen, until this year.
There was talk leading up to this year's fair that the skillet toss would return and I agreed to participate if it did, giving Polivka a long awaited re-match. The event hadn't been held for a number of years. Why, I don't know.
Call or text me, I said, and I'll be there. Polivka called and texted Saturday night.
Sunday morning, under an increasingly warm sun before most of the vendors had opened for business, there we stood in the horse ring with other participants.
We were allowed two throws.
I threw first. Three steps and I flung the frying pan. It landed with a thud in the gravel 56 feet away. The next toss wasn't quite as far.
Polivka's first throw went about as high as it did far. The distance was not relevant because his second toss was longer, 56 feet.
The tie meant a toss-off after other competitors finished.
Again, I was first. Polivka gave me the option of first or second. I picked first, you know, to have the intimidation factor.
Thinking back, given what happened next, I should have taken option three: leaving things a tie.
The skillet I tossed landed on the ground just after I did, rolling in the gravel in a heap of long hair and sunglasses. To add insult to injury - I received some minor road rash on my right knee - the toss was only 54 feet, 2 feet less than earlier.
Polivka threw 65 feet.
Now it's me who's suggesting a rematch next year, but before we toss the skillet, let's use it as it's intended to be used, to make breakfast.
The first- and second-place finishers were James C. Lewis, 79 feet, and Tim Petty, 78 feet, in the men 18 and older division; Jill Fowley, my girlfriend, who happily agreed to attend the fair and participate, had a combined 83 feet, and Debbie Jones a combined 81 feet. The two tied, so judges added the distances to determine a winner.
In the 13 to 17 group, Mark McCloskey finished first with 77 feet, and Ben Meardith 64 feet; and in the 12 and younger, Eli Cless threw 56 feet, and Jeremiah Adams 53 feet.