Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Street shot put a ‘good-old time’

Reese Hoffa of Evans, Ga., tosses one of his shot put throws on his way to a second-place finish in the Kansas Relays Men's Elite Shot Put event in downtown Lawrence on Wednesday, April 20, 2011.

Reese Hoffa of Evans, Ga., tosses one of his shot put throws on his way to a second-place finish in the Kansas Relays Men's Elite Shot Put event in downtown Lawrence on Wednesday, April 20, 2011.


When the downtown shot-put circuit catches on as a nationally televised series that hits 10 different college towns and is backed by a major corporate sponsor — it’s just too good an idea not to happen — the competitors will never forget the U.S. soil on which it started.

The downtown shot put, a smash hit in Europe, made its U.S. debut last year on Eighth Street between Mass and New Hampshire streets, in front of the Sandbar.

“People are right there on top of you, cheering you on, willing you to throw it farther,” said Dan Taylor, ranked 12th in the world in the event. “It’s a great atmosphere.”

As the crowd spilled out into the city to have dinner and then drinks last year, most of the competitors did the same.

“It was awesome,” Cory Martin said of the night. “We ended up at the Sandbar and had a good-old time.”

The second-annual event starts at 6 p.m. today, but those looking to stake out positions close to the action should arrive much earlier. The forecast calls for 77 degrees with 43 percent humidity and a 10-percent chance of rain. In short, perfect conditions to gather outdoors to watch huge men throw a 16-pound steel ball about 70 feet.

Canadian Dylan Armstrong won last year with a throw of 70 feet, 71⁄4 inches. By virtue of his gold medal in the indoor world championships, Ryan Whiting could be considered the favorite this time.

“I don’t know if there is ever a favorite amongst us when we compete,” Whiting said. “It’s anyone’s game. It’s whoever brings it that day. Indoor world was my day, but it could be anyone’s day.”

Whiting said he considers Adam Nelson, Christian Cantwell and Reese Hoffa his stiffest competition. What about Armstrong?

“Last year, Dylan was really on,” Whiting said. “I don’t know if it’s going to be Dylan’s day this year. I don’t want to talk down on him, but he had an injury indoors. If he could defend, it would be awesome for him, but I don’t think he will.”

The personable Nelson worked the concession stands in hometown Atlanta in the 1996 Summer Olympics and competed in the next three Olympic Games and earned silver medals in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics. He said the main motivation for trying to compete in a fourth Olympic Games has been making the most of his forum to promote awareness for rare diseases, through a charity called the Rare Project.

Nelson uses his platform as a world-class athlete to urge people to go to to donate money to Rare Project through him. If a corporate sponsor backs a shot-put circuit with the $5 million or so it would take to fund a national tour, Nelson and other throwers’ profiles and charitable efforts will soar and so will the entertainment value of sports on television.


Jonathan Briles 7 years, 4 months ago

I would not peg a guy like him as a dancer, but it looks like he danced beautifully by the picture hahahaha, but seriously these guys are pretty impressive. I wish I could have been there.

irvan moore 7 years, 4 months ago

beatnik and mrs. beatnik will be there again, thanks bob for all the hard work you put in to bring this event downtown

april28 7 years, 4 months ago

They have a similar event in Manhattan but they throw cow chips, instead. The goal is to see if they can clear a full city block of bovine droppings before nightfall.

Martin Rosenblum 7 years, 4 months ago

Meanwhile, in Columbia.................... The 1st annual "Shot Catch" competition was cut short when Clem Cadidilhopper, of a small town in central Missouri was distracted by the "possum on a stick" concession stand and caught the shot put between the eyes rather than in the special groin mounted bag they designed. Oh, he was alright but the event coordinators postponed the competition after being approached by SEC officials about this becoming a sanctioned conference sport.

7 years, 4 months ago

Showing my age somewhat. Enjoyed your hilarious post :-)

ahpersecoachingexperience 7 years, 4 months ago

You know what the KUAD should do? Leave the shot put thing set up year round. Even though it's a giant eye sore, everyone will laugh about how it makes no sence, and will take up important usuable space. KUAD won't care because it is worth having it there for it's one time a year, moderately attended event.

KGphoto 7 years, 4 months ago

Great idea. Now can we move the track down there too?

irvan moore 7 years, 4 months ago

why doesn't compton build a shot put/long jump arena instead of a hotel

Tony Bandle 7 years, 4 months ago

Frankly, they're missing a bet here.

If you combined shot putting with dodgeball and made it into a team sport, it would draw more viewers than American Idol, The Voice, The Biggest Loser and The Great Race combined!!! [I watch none of these, by the way]

It would be a sensation and almost as violent as NFL Playoff Hockey!!

The rules would be simple:

1] Each team picks their best shot putter and whoever comes in second after one throw, their team is in the middlle. 2] The team is composed of 10 guys in the middle of a 50'-0" wide zone. 3] Five opposing putters are stationed either side. with all 10 putters having five, 16 lb shots. 4] All putteres can throw simultaneously. 5] If any of the ten in the middle survive, the "receiving" team wins.

America...WHAT A COUNTRY!!!!

ahpersecoachingexperience 7 years, 4 months ago

It will never make it. With death it would have to be on pay per view. How about having rounds where people surrender. Example: Round 1) weighted pop bottles with mentos in them Round 2) bee hives Round 3) flash bangs Etc...

Steve Gantz 7 years, 4 months ago

Maybe since no one likes Keegs as a basketball writer he ought to become the full time track columnist.

Steve Gantz 7 years, 4 months ago

I gave it a shot, thought I'd get a +10!

7 years, 4 months ago

Your comment was wind-aided :-)

Christopher Johnson 7 years, 4 months ago

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