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Krueger claims the cash

WINTON – The last time Freddy Krueger visited Beaver Lake in Gates County, the world champion ski jumper was as relaxed as the water was calm.

This past weekend was an entirely different story.

Challenged by a host of the best ski jumpers in the world, Krueger walked away with the $5,000 top prize as he won the Performance Chevrolet and Carolina Chrysler Pro Jump, presented by SoBe, during Sunday’s championship round.

The two-day event was hosted by the Beaver Lake Ski Club and had a total cash-prize purse of $14,000.

Krueger, who holds the world record at 240 feet, came within a mere 24 inches of matching that mark. During Sunday’s semifinals, Krueger came off the ramp resembling an Apollo moon launch and landed 238 feet later.

That earned the Illinois native (now a resident of Winter Garden, Fla.) a spot in the finals. There, he collected the top prize with a leap covering 233 feet.

Americans Ryan Fitts (Shreveport, La.) and Mark Lane (Bellingham, Wa.) rounded out the top three spots. Fitts nailed a 223-foot jump while Lane turned in a 218-foot effort.

The tournament, the first professional event staged in the Roanoke-Chowan area, attracted 18 pros. Eleven competitors hailed from other counties around the globe, including Australia, Canada, Denmark, Great Britain, New Zealand, Spain and Switzerland.

Tournament organizer Jeff Mitchell of the Beaver Lake Ski Club was pleased with the outcome.

“What a great weekend,” Mitchell said. “The crowds (estimated at upwards to 600 per day) were fantastic and very supportive of the skiers. That what these guys want to hear…cheers from the crowd. It gets their blood pumping which leads to some great performances off the ramp like we saw so many times over the weekend.”

Mitchell n who, months in advance, had worked area businesses for support – was extremely thankful of the many sponsors.

“I think we, with the help of our sponsors, proved that Beaver Lake in Gates County is most definitely a world class stage for professional skiers to display their enormous talents,” Mitchell concluded. “Hopefully there will be more pro events like this to follow here at Beaver Lake.”

Photos from the weekend event are available for viewing online at www.skifly.com.