It was all about skips and stones on Saturday, as the Rock In River Festival returned to Franklin's Riverfront Park.

From youths to amateurs to professional stone-skippers, dozens took their shots from the bank of the Allegheny River, skipping hand-chosen rocks they'd brought with them from as far as Michigan and Kentucky.

According to Guinness world-record holder Kurt Steiner - who skipped one rock across the Allegheny Reservoir at Red Bridge 88 times in 2013 - "if you can win in Pennsylvania you can win anywhere."

The competition in Pennsylvania, according to Steiner, is steep.

"You've got Dave Ohmer, Paul Farrow, Mike Wilson." The contest, he said, is generational.

Franklin's Rock In River Festival is one of the "big four" stone-skipping contests.

"This is a place to test yourself" against the best, Steiner said Saturday before heading off to practice skipping ahead of the professional competition and "get (his) head in the game."

"About anyone who can do well her in Pennsylvania is top class," he said. "There's a lot of good talent."

Former Derrick and News-Herald reporter Brian Ferry was on hand Saturday, as he has been for the past "at least 10 years," to compete in the professional class of stone-skippers.

Ferry said he's been a noncompetitive stone-skipper since the age of 4, when he'd go skipping stones with his father. Now, said Ferry, he's carried on that tradition with his own sons, Alex and Liam. Alex has competed, and even done well.

"I really like to encourage Alex," Steiner said. "That kid has a great arm."

Before heading north to live in Warren County, Ferry said he decided to give the competition a shot after hearing about it. A decade later, nothing has changed, mostly because he enjoys the annual event itself.

"It's 200 people here to watch people skip stones," Ferry said. "What's not to love about it?"

Furthermore, Ferry said, "you get involved, you make friends. These guys are great."

Although Ferry in the past racked up a respectable 38 skips, he said his hero in the game will always be his son Alex. "He's better than me and younger than I am." Alex's high mark, according to Ferry, is 42.

The contest has been open to youth contestants age 12 and under, as well as amateurs age 13 and up.

Amateur throwers can eke their way into the professional competition by throwing at least 30 skips in the amateur division. Those contestants threw six stones at a turn.

In fact, there were four competitors who qualified for the professional division on Saturday after their performances in the amateur division earlier in the day.

Professionals got three rounds of two throws each.

More than anything, most stone-skippers agree, it's the event and the memories that keep them coming back.

STACEY GROSS, reporter for The Derrick and The News-Herald, can be reached at or (814) 676-7057.


SCHOLASTIC FOOTBALL: General McLane 37, Franklin 21; Meadville 48, Oil City 0; Grove City 20, Hickory 7; Central Clarion 36, Bradford 7; Smethport 26, Keystone 6; Redbank Valley 52, Coudersport 6; Cochranton 28, Maplewood 0; Reynolds 47, Lakeview 27; St. Marys 42, Moniteau 6; Karns City 35, …

Girls volleyball: Oil City 3, Franklin 1; Lakeview 3, Rocky Grove 2; Cranberry 3, Redbank Valley 2; Keystone 3, Venango Catholic 0; Clarion 3, Moniteau 0; Clarion-Limestone 3, North Clarion 0; Karns City 3, Union 0 Girls soccer: Meadville 9, Oil City 0; Fort LeBoeuf 9, Franklin 0

CLARION — It was Farmers and Crafters Day on Friday at the Autumn Leaf Festival, and Clarion Chamber of Business and Industry leader Tracy Becker said the day went well.

SCHOLASTIC FOOTBALL: Warren 21, Oil City 18; Meadville 77, Franklin 0; Grove City 42, Titusville 6; Central Clarion 33, Ridgway 14; Redbank Valley 49, Bucktail 6; DuBois 51, Moniteau 7; Karns City 41, Kane 12; Maplewood 16, Cambridge Springs 0; Mercer 20, Lakeview 6

SCHOLASTIC BOYS SOCCER: Oil City 6, Keystone 1; SCHOLASTIC GIRLS SOCCER: Corry 8, Franklin 4; Erie High 11, Oil City 0; SCHOLASTIC VOLLEYBALL: Franklin 3, Venango Catholic 0; Cranberry 3, Rocky Grove 0; Keystone 3, Oil City 0; Butler First Baptist 3, Christian Life Academy 1

Heading into Friday night’s Region 5 rivalry football game at Franklin High School, the Knights’ coaching staff knew the one thing their team needed to do to have any chance of beating Oil City was to stop star running back Ethen Knox from having a big impact on the matchup.

Football: Oil City 54, Franklin 8; Central Clarion 34, Kane 26; Redbank Valley 27, Smethport 6; Union/A-C Valley 41, Port Allegany 8; Brookville 39, Moniteau 6; St. Marys 35, Karns City 28; Grove City 32, Sharon 13; Hickory 56, Titusville 7; Maplewood 30, Seneca 8; Cochranton 14, Cambridge S…

Union High School will dismiss students at 11 a.m. today due to "several positive cases of Covid which have resulted in quarantining of staff members necessary in performing key functions," according to Superintendent John Kimmel. The high school will be operating remotely Monday, Tuesday, a…

Girls volleyball: Franklin 3, Slippery Rock 1; Hickory 3, Oil City 0; Rocky Grove 3, Jamestown 0; Clarion 3, Karns City 0; A-C Valley 3, Redbank Valley 1; C-L 3, Keystone 1; CLA 3, Chautauqua Christian 1 Girls soccer: Warren 10, Oil City 1; Harbor Creek 8, Franklin 0 Girls tennis: Wilmington…

As September, which is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, draws to a close, several parents who have lost their children to cancer are on a mission to see that their kids aren’t forgotten and to raise awareness for childhood cancer all year long.

SCHOLASTIC BOYS SOCCER: Franklin 6, Titusville 1; North East 18, Oil City 1; SCHOLASTIC GIRLS VOLLEYBALL: Clarion-Limestone 3, Franklin 0; Moniteau 3, North Clarion 0; SCHOLASTIC GIRLS TENNIS: (Doubleheader) Match #1 Oil City 5, Kennedy Catholic 0; Match #2 Oil City 5, Kennedy Catholic 0

Girls volleyball: Maplewood 3, Oil City 0; Sharpsville 3, Franklin 0; Rocky Grove 3, Mercer 0; Cranberry 3, Keystone 1; Clarion 3, C-L 0; A-C Valley 3, Moniteau 1; CLA 3, CCSI 0 Girls soccer: Meadville 0, Oil City 0; Fort LeBoeuf 13, Franklin 0 Girls Tennis: Sharon 4, Oil City 1

Girls volleyball: Union 3, Oil City 2; Franklin 3, Cranberry 2; Venango Catholic 3, Forest Area 0; Keystone 3, Redbank Valley 1 Boys soccer: Oil City 4, Corry 2; Franklin 3, Fort LeBoeuf 2 Girls tennis: Punxsutawney 4, Oil City 3

The southbound lanes of Route 8 are open from the intersection with Old Route 8 (Route 3013) to the Georgetown Road (Route 3004) exit, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

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Two people died in a single-vehicle crash on Interstate 80 early Monday morning, during which time their vehicle caught fire, according to Clintonville Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Chief Brayden Rea.

Interstate 80 exit 45, eastbound (Route 478: St. Petersburg/Emlenton) is closed for concrete patching. The estimated time to reopen is 6 p.m., according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

HARRISBURG —The state Department of Health today announced a booster shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine will be immediately available for certain adults who were fully vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine at least six months ago.

Nancy Hunt, of Pleasantville, and Ed Atts, of Utica, won the Wildlife Photography contest. Their photos were selected from 155 submissions. Both winners received a $50 Dunham’s Sports gift card. To view all of the photos entered, visit The Derrick’s Facebook page or

Chaplain Sandy Lewis, chaplain of Sandycreek Volunteer Fire Department, led the inaugural Firefighter Memorial and Honor Service Sunday afternoon.

After three quarters of forgettable football, Oil City came alive when it mattered most — and on Homecoming, no less — as the Oilers scored all of their points in the fourth quarter en route to a 14-13 victory over Harbor Creek in a Region 5 thriller at the Oil Field on Friday night.

SCHOLASTIC FOOTBALL: Franklin 23, Conneaut Area 16; Oil City 14, Harbor Creek 13; St. Marys 42, Central Clarion 39; Keystone 29, Bucktail 12; Redbank Valley 51, Brockway 0; Union/Allegheny-Clarion Valley 41, Elk County Catholic 0; Moniteau 44, Bradford 38; Karns City 41, Brookville 7; Grove …