Titusville ninth-grader David Ohmer was given the nickname at last year's Rock in River Festival because he carried a lucky chicken foot. His brother Luke “Electric Luke Orchestra” Ohmer, a Titusville seventh-grader, also received his nickname last year. Both are professional stone skippers competing along with their dad, former Titusville resident Dave “Spiderman” Ohmer.
Spiderman Ohmer is a multiple-state champion and considered one of the best the sport has to offer.
On Saturday, Chicken Foot had a better toss than his old man, but the senior Ohmer had the second-highest cumulative total of the entire field. Neither placed in the top three for the longest single tosses this year, but last year young David took third place in the state.
Chicken Foot and Electric Luke may seem too young to be professionals, but there isn’t an age requirement. The designation is determined by the number of skips one can throw. To achieve pro status, a competitor has to record a toss of at least 30 skips during the amateur division and then “elect” to go pro. Once you go pro, you are no longer eligible to compete as an amateur. Both young Ohmer's qualified from the youth and amateur division's last year.
Both younger Ohmers had clunker tosses of under 10 skips that set them back a bit.
The three combined for 379 skips on the day. The pro division combined total for the competition was 2,979. There was also an amateur and kids division with 100s more skips.
The competition allows each competitor six rocks. They go in order, throwing in three rounds of two throws each while a panel of judges counts by eye to determine a final score.
Chicken Foot’s 37 was 13 off the championship toss by Tidioute’s Andy “Big Rock” Severns, who repeated as champion. In 2022, Severns broke the state record with a toss of 53. That year Chicken Foot was the third-best in the state with a 44-skip toss.
The world record is 88, set by Kurt "Mountain Man" Steiner in 2013 at a different location. Analysts who have gone over the footage are debating if there was one more final mini jump at the end making it 89 skips. But as of today, the Guinness record sits at 88. Rock skipping has given Steiner a bit of acclaim. He has been featured in documentaries, news stories and missed this year’s Rock in River Festival in Franklin because he was asked to skip rocks in Europe for a music video by the Chemical Brothers and Beck.
The Mountain Man and Spiderman have become good friends over the years. They even get together to go on rock hunting excursions, often bringing along Chicken Foot and Electric Luke.