Beloit Belly Flop Contest Won't End

By: 23 Weekend News
By: 23 Weekend News

A year after a man drowned during his tavern's belly flop contest, James Halbach watched six people launch themselves into the Rock River during the second annual event. This year, no one drowned.

Last year, 52-year-old Dorl "Woody" Gates, 52, of Beloit died after jumping off the Townline Road bridge railing into swift water 20 feet below. He disappeared and his body was found downstream 10 days later.

This year, no one jumped from the bridge. In fact, it's illegal to jump off a bridge in Beloit. Instead, three men and three women leaped from a floating dock into a 20-foot square of water surrounded on three sides by dock and on the fourth side by a pontoon boat.

Halbach said the belly flop contest was in honor of Gates' memory.

Ryan Kelly, an 18-year-old from Beloit, won first place Saturday.

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