Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877


By Garth Meyer
Gazette Reporter 

Thrills and spills at the Slippery Gulch egg toss


June 20, 2019

Shane Monroy Sander Carren

Brothers-in-law Shane Monroy, left, and Sander Carren won $50 each in the 27th Tekoa Slippery Gulch egg toss.

Sander Carren and Shane Monroy took the Tekoa Slippery Gulch egg toss Saturday, June 15, winning $50 each.

Monroy, 35, won one other time just after high school, an event which he's participated in since third grade. Carren, 36, Monroy's brother-in-law, had been in 10 Slippery Gulch egg tosses.

"We switch off each year; with our wives one year, then we go for the win," said Carren. "Next year, we have to defend. Sorry, honey."

Monroy is a Tekoa graduate, his wife Jessica a grade below him in school. Carren, originally from Orange County, Calif., met his Tekoa wife, Molly (Smith) in Costa Mesa, Calif. He manages a fertilizer plant for Wilbur-Ellis in Potlatch. Monroy works for Frontier Communications and runs Tobra Coffee.

Why did they prevail?

"Good weather, luck," said Monroy.

"Our skill level is so high," Carren said.

The 27th Slippery Gulch Days egg toss started after the parade, under blue sky, with pairs crowding the centerline up and down Crosby Street.

"I really think this is the largest yet," said longtime announcer Chris Smith over the loudspeaker, from the top of a flatbed truck, under shade.

Eggs were handed out and it began: the handoff, then the first turn which the egg had to fully leave one hand before landing in the partner's hands. A step back, a large step back. Cracks and first yoke on the street and paper towels arrived.

"The egg toss can strengthen ties, bond relationships... and I won't tell you the other," Smith said over the new P.A. system, which arrived a week after Slippery Gulch last year, which was supposed to arrive a week earlier than that.

"One, two, three, toss 'em," Smith called.

A few breaks, as talking and laughing in the lines diminished.

"I'm kind of putting my money on these two in the red shirts right here. Looking good," Smith called out.

The unnamed 10-year-old boys stood with the rest of the pairs 12 feet apart.

"The Shrope brothers," Smith announced for another favorite.

More throws, two more steps back.

"Bob and Dave Shrope, I want you to know there is no pressure on you, none whatsoever," said Smith. "Three lines. Dave and Bob, come this way."

The long line of pairs, nearing the sidewalks, then split into a series of short lines, to throw parallel to the street rather than perpendicular.

"Liz is stepping it off," Smith announced as assistant and wife Liz Smith paced off each line to be sure the distances were equal. What happened to those boys in the red t-shirts? Gone.

"Great to see ya," called Smith, back on the loudspeaker after looking behind him. "I just said hello to Neil Madsen."

Back to the action, throwers stood 20 feet from each other.

"Keith and Bob Hahn in there. Molly Kraemer, is she still in it?"

A wave came from a pair down the street toward Tekoa Hardware.

"First female member of a winning team," said Smith, a former Tekoa banker. "She took $500 from me last year in a combination of I.O.U.'s, bad checks and some cash."

Back at it, another step back.

"One, two, three, toss 'em."

Eggs flew and a young man looked in the air, retreated, lurching back, hands after a flying egg. Just behind him, a kid in a V-neck t-shirt in the next row, caught his egg and leapt out of the way, at the last second, an almost collision.

A couple more eggs broke – not the lurching young man's or the kid in the V-neck.

"Something has gone awry in the egg toss," Smith called out. "Where are the Shrope brothers?"

A moment passed.

"There they are," Smith continued, as laughter followed from the crowd under the awnings and up the sidewalk.

It was down to 11 teams. Molly Kraemer wiped egg yolk off her ankle, then sandal strap, then toes, back to her ankle.

"One, two, three, toss 'em," Smith called.

Another team went down. It was now seven left, each pair in one row in front of the flatbed.

Another step back, another team out, a guy in a green Quicksilver shirt left shaking runny yoke off his hands.

What happened?

"Too strong," he said, as his partner crossed the pavement to commiserate.

"Anthony and Pat, they are past winners," Smith said.

The last six teams featured one 18-19 year-old pair and others in their early to mid-30s, including three-time winner Gabe Smith.

The next throw and the kid in the V-neck stepped forward, and another step, and another, scooping a catch.

"Dude! A little short, buddy!" James Heer, 19, called to his partner, with a smile.

Down to four teams, and no breaks, Heer throwing it back successfully.

"One, two, three, toss 'em."

Heer again jumped forward, then made another stride ahead and bent down to catch the egg again, a good 8-10 feet short.

Was this a violation?

Nothing called, on to the next throw and Cam Blank, brother-in-law of Gabe Smith, threw.

The egg, one of four in the air, sailed through the sky and Smith cradled his hands, whisking them away with the sure momentum of the object's descent. The egg arrived, spun off the pad of Smith's thumb, hit him in the shoulder, bounced free in the air and dropped, splatting on the pavement.

"You hit 'em in the hands," called announcer Smith, Gabe's father.

He and Blank were gone – neither touched by egg yoke – but gone just the same.

Now three teams left, another throw. It ended with splatted egg across Heer's partner's "Pacer-Man" t-shirt," Isaak Otmar of Sprague.

The other pair went down, and the winners were the only two left, Monroy and Carren.

"I know one thing for sure," announcer Smith said. "Your wives must really be proud."

He sent the two back to their positions to throw again, the tradition of continued throws until the egg breaks, to prove it is a real egg and/or not hard-boiled.

They threw twice more before it broke, the splat hitting the street, the last of a myriad of others.

Banner Bank presented the winners a $50 bill each and Monroy and Carren posed for a picture.

What about the record, were they anywhere near 93 feet, set by Gabe Smith and Jeff Bruce in 2014?

"Hey Chris, is this an unofficial record, you didn't pace it off," said Carren.

"Should've measured it," said Smith, microphone on the table in front of him. "Next year we'll put hash marks down."


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