GLOUCESTER — When it comes to walking the greasy pole, Stewart "Stew" McGillivray has set some lofty goals for himself.
The 23-year-old McGillivray is hoping to be listed in the Pantheon of greasy pole walkers, who he says are Salvi Benson (11 titles), Peter "Black" Frontiero (9 titles), Jake Wood (7 titles), and Anthony "Matza" Giambanco (6 titles).
What seemed so far away two years ago, is now inching ever so slightly to a reality, as McGillivray pulled down his second straight Sunday greasy pole flag yesterday off Pavilion Beach. He is now more than halfway to his goal, as yesterday's win was his fourth, and his third win in the second round.
"By the time I'm done walking I'd love to catch Jake (Wood)," McGillivray said. "But I have a long way to go, I'm not at the same level as those guys yet."
Judging by the stature of his winning walk, it's not the skill level that McGillivray lacks, it's just that he hasn't been walking as long. McGillivray appeared to be losing his balance three times over the course if his 40-foot walk down the pole, but he kept going, barely losing his momentum en route to the win.
"It's all heart," McGillivray said. "I just pushed through it."
As his fellow walkers carried him down beach court, they couldn't even help but be impressed with McGillivray's feet.
"That kid isn't human," said 2005 Saturday champ Jimmy "Slivis" Silva.
"He is unreal" added 2007 Saturday champ Joe "Sans" Sanfillippo.
Walking second, McGillivray did not even give his competitors a chance to win.
Saturday's winner Joe "Rocky" Stelline was the only other competitor that had a chance to win, as the first round is the courtesy round where every walker gets a chance but can not win. Still, McGillivray was quick to credit his fellow walkers, particularly the 2005 Friday and 2006 Saturday champ Vinny Parisi, who made it to the end of the pole in his courtesy round walk, just as McGillivray had the year before. Parisi touched the flag with his finger tips and fell into the water.
Ironically, Parisi was walking seventh, the same spot McGillivray walked last year, and while the now four-time champion didn't think he would get a chance at seven last year, he made sure it would not get to the seventh spot this year.
"Vinny is awesome," McGillivray said. "If he had a chance he would have taken the flag down in the second round. I had no room for error so my focus was up.
All in all McGillivray said that yesterday's win was the best feeling in the world, a feeling he hopes to regain a few more times in the future.
"This is heaven," McGillivray said. "If there is a better feeling in the world I haven't experienced it yet."
Just 24 hours before McGillivray's win, Joe "Rocky" Stelline took home the Saturday greasy pole.
The 38-year-old Stelline, who has been walking the pole for 10 years, came away with the flag in the third round of Saturday's competition.
"I can't describe how good it feels," said Stelline of his win. "I have so much respect for Fiesta and everything it stands for and it feels great to finally win the greasy pole."
Stelline dedicated the win to his friend Busty Moceri, who passed away recently.