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July 1, 2013

Avelis takes Greasy Pole flag for second straight year

GLOUCESTER— Nicky Avelis knew once he got that first flag he could potentially go on a run of Greasy Pole championships.

Avelis, 33, a veteran walker grabbed his first flag on Saturday during the 2012 St. Peter’s Fiesta, and on Sunday he added another flag to his resume, navigating the length of the 40 foot greased telephone pole in the fourth round, his second flag in as many years.

“I knew once I got the first one I could go on a tear,” Avelis said.

From the get-go, it was clear that Avelis was on his game, but on Championship Sunday the field is so stacked that there are usually several walkers bringing their “A” game to the pole. But in the end, Avelis stood tall against the field and actually turned in the afternoon’s two best walks.

In the third round the victor came a mere inches away from the flag, which was just out of the reach of his outstretched arm. In round four, however, Avelis finished the job walking all the way to the end of the pole and taking the flag with him.

“I don’t even know how I did it,” Avelis said. “It was a blur.”

A jubilant Avelis was lifted onto the shoulders of his fellow walkers as he reached the shore at Pavilion Beach and hoisted in the air not only his flag, but Carlo “Sleepy” Pallazolla’s 1956 championship flag as well. Avelis dedicated his winning walk to the late Pallazolla, a family friend St. Peter’s Fiesta legend who has won multiple Greasy Pole and Seine Boat titles.

“I walked today for anyone who has lost a loved one,” the now Sunday champ said.

Sunday’s championship Greasy Pole round was not short on the drama either, as there were several walkers who came just feet away from taking the flag.

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