If you search for images of barrel jumping, you’ll find a lot of equestrian, rodeo, and skateboard photos. But this sport started out as an ice-skating event- a very dangerous event in which skaters raced up to 50 miles per hour in order to long-jump over beer barrels. If you made it over all the barrels, you would inevitably crash into the end of the rink or pond. At one point, organizers wanted to add more ice for the landing to avoid those high-speed and often injurious crashes, but the skaters themselves objected, because they wanted every inch of ice they could get to build up speed for their jump.
Barrel jumping is believed to have originated in the Netherlands in the 19th century, but the sport really blew up in the 1930s when Grossinger’s Catskill Resort Hotel launched competitive barrel jumping. They eventually began hosting the annual North American Invitational Barrel Jumping tournament, which drew the attention of ABC’s Wide World of Sports broadcast. Read about the heyday of the exhilarating and dangerous sport of barrel jumping at Messy Nessy Chic. Yes, there are videos along with the story and images.
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