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World Champ Grape Stompers Win with 19.6 Pounds of Juice

Napa Valley | CA

SANTA ROSA, California, October 3 – The 2005 World Championship Grape Stomp was held Sunday, October 2, at the 31st Sonoma County Harvest Fair. 187 teams stomped during the weekend's qualifying grape stomps, with a winner from each qualifying round proceeding to compete in the World Championship Stomp. Each year the World Championship Grape Stomp draws winners from regional stomps across the nation, and this year was no exception. Stompers descended on Santa Rosa from as far away as Florida, Illinois, Kansas, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, New York, Texas, Washington, and from throughout California.

California not only grows great grapes, but apparently is home to world class stompers and swabbies. The winning 2005 team, Jed Czajkowski (Cotati), joined by his brother Jack (Vacaville), a first-time swabbie, stomped his way back to victory ousting the disappointed 2nd place team, last year's local mother & son team champs Michelle & Kopa Kaluahine. The Kaluahine's were rather stunned by their loss—they've been stomping for a collective 25 years, and are year-round athletes; both run daily to keep fit and toned.

The Czajkowski's reaction to their win was pure jubilance. "I feel
vindicated after losing last year, exclaimed Jed, "It was a hard loss.
It would have been really nice to have my 2003 partner, Lewis Knight,with me for this victory, but my bro is a winner—he did a great, great job—and he's a novice!" When asked what particular strategy he employed to make his come-back, Jed provided some sage advice, "don't over-stomp. The trick is not to turn the juice into jelly. It takes a lot of squishing to produce just juice." Jack chimed in with a comment that future stompers should seriously consider, "grape stomping is not an easy sport;it's down and dirty. My hand has cuts on it, and is rubbed raw in places from pushing 60 pounds of grape juice through the screen. It's a brutal sport." Despite its danger, it is a family sport for the Czajkowski's. Jed's son, 10-year old Scott, a second time competitor, competed with his 5-year old sister Natalie in the kids stomp. Jed & Jack had better be watching their backs…if it's not enough to worry about family passing them up, the Kaluahine's parting words were, "We'll be back.

The World Championship Grape Stomp is held each year at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair. Mark your calendar now to save the date, and start your training regime to compete in the 2006 World Championship Grape Stomp. Qualifying heats and the final stomp are scheduled during next year's 32nd annual Sonoma County Harvest Fair, October 6-8, 2006.

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