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Canadian Competitor Wins Cherry Pit Spitting Contest

July 7, 1996 GMT

EAU CLAIRE, Mich. (AP) _ Spitting cherry pits is a family thing for the Lessards.

Father and son finished first and second Saturday in the 23rd annual International Cherry Pit Spitting contest.

Joe Lessard Sr. of Blenheim, Ontario, spit 71 feet, 11 1/2 inches. The record of 72 feet, 7 1/2 inches was set in 1988 by Rick Krause of Sanders, Ariz.

Joe Lessard Jr. finished second with a spit of 57 feet, 2 inches.

The elder Lessard is a two-time previous spitting contest winner, coming out on top in 1986 and 1993.

Marlene Tully, of Sanders, Ariz., won the women’s title with a spit of 34 feet, 10 1/2 inches.

Before competing, Tully and Krause, the 1995 men’s champion, exchanged wedding vows on the contest court.

The pit-spitting competition started in 1974 and is held each year at the Tree-Mendus Fruit Farm to promote Michigan’s cherry industry.