Paddle-wheels and pole-vaulters shared the Mighty Mississippi on July 4th at the LaCrosse River Vault. Adding to the excitement at the 6th annual event was the fact that it was the very first time that a pole-vault competition had ever been held on a river barge.
Cheering the vaulters was Maggie Steele, heroine of Maggie Vaults Over the Moon.
“Maggie was delighted to be invited back to one of the best street vaults in the nation, or should I now say, the only barge vault in the world,” said author Grant Overstake. Copies of his YA novel were awarded to top finishers in each category. He added, “It was a happy, historic day for everyone involved.
“Kudos to Jeremiah Burish and his crew for putting on a great, great show!”
The crowd of spectators lining the riverbank grew throughout the day as the time for the nighttime fireworks display drew near. They craned their necks and held their breath as soaring Elite vaulters “barged” down the runway in pursuit of $1,500 in cash prizes. The top vault was Peter Geraghty’s 18’6″ pr, an astounding leap — on land or sea.
It also was a high-flying, flag-waving day for Andrianna “Andy” Jacobs, who won the Youth Division with a vault of 13’4.25″, qualifying her for the USA Junior Nationals. While unofficial, the senior-to-be’s vault surpassed the Minnesota state record for high school girls.
Event organizer Burish says his big barge idea started with a “What if?” question. “Being here on the water and seeing the barges go past all the time we just thought, Boy wouldn’t it be cool to put it on a barge? Would that even be possible?”
As it turns out, it was. “So it just kind of stemmed from there,” he added. “They let me know Tuesday night that we would have a barge, so our plans drastically changed. We got out information to all of the competitors and everything like that to let them know we are going to be vaulting on a barge. That this was the first time in the world that this has ever happened.”
After the 125′ by 50′ barge was moored, a crew of intrepid volunteers worked feverishly to get the pole-vault runway and pit mounted on deck in time for the event. The rest is nautical history. And because it was history, every age-group winner, from the youngest to the oldest vaulters, went home as a “world-record-holder for a barge vault,” which added even more excitement, and media coverage, of the buoyant event.
Maggie Vaults Over the Moon is the story of a gutsy Kansas farm girl who overcomes tragedy and soars to new heights as a pole-vaulter. The young adult novel has been endorsed by US Olympic vaulters, coaches and other key people in the sport for its positive message, including Burish, who has awarded copies of the novel to River Vault winners for the past several years.
“I read Maggie and thought that it would be an awesome addition to our event,” Burish said. “It is a great story about adversity and overcoming obstacles. I believe everyone can relate to this book as we have all had some sort of barriers to overcome as athletes, students, or in life.”
Invite ‘Maggie’ to Your Event!
Presenting Maggie Vaults Over the Moon is an exciting way to inspire and reward your athletes. Order ‘Maggie’ at deep quantity discounts and get awesome social media exposure for your club, camps, or street vaults. Contact author Grant Overstake today to learn more (Click Here).
Maggie is now available on audiobook performed by Tavia Gilbert at Downpour.com, Audible.com, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Indigo Books & Music, Indiebound and many other sites. CD/Library versions of the audiobook are available at BlackstoneAudio.com.