GLOUCESTER- Stew McGillivray continues to climb the ladder when it comes to the greatest greasy pole walkers of all time. McGillivray came into the 2012 competition with five titles in his back pocket which put him in the top five for all time greasy pole victories.
On Sunday McGillivray moved up another spot with a thrilling walk in the third round to take home his sixth flag and fourth Sunday flag in the last five years.
The win moves McGillivray to a tie for fourth all time with Phil Curcuru, who also won six titles in the 1960's. The only three walkers with more titles than McGillivray are Salvi Benson, 11, Peter "Black" Frontiero, 9, and Jake Wood, 7. McGillivray is hoping to gain entry to that exclusive group before it's all said and done.
"That's where I'm hoping to be some day, with the best walkers of all time," McGillivray said. "There are so many great walkers and it's an honor to be grouped in with them."
McGillivray, 26, normally makes the trek across the 40 foot grease covered telephone pole look effortless. But Sunday's championship walk may have been one of his most impressive because it wasn't a flawless walk.
Half way across the pole it looked like the eventual champ was going to fall as he slipped forward. But McGillivray kept his balance and kept going only to lose his balance again 3/4 of the way down the pole.
Just when it looked like he was going to fall off McGillvray showed a champions heart and somehow regained his balance again before making it to the end of the pole and grabbing the flag while standing.
Even his fellow walkers couldn't hold back their praise.
"I've never seen a walker pretty much fall off the pole and still take down the flag," one walker told him during the celebration.
Even McGillivray himself thought he was going to fall and that one of the several outstanding walkers was going to take down the flag shortly after.
"I thought it was my last walk of the day," McGillivray said. "You know when your walk is done and when you're going to fall and I almost reached that point. I don't even know how I did it because the whole walk is such a blur but I got there, it was just an awesome feeling."
McGillivray is hoping to take another step towards all time champion Salvi Benson in 2013, and to say he is the early favorite for next year's Super Sunday greasy pole would be a severe understatement, especially given the fact that he will be walking second.
Avelis wins on Saturday
Long time Saturday greasy pole walker Nick "Nicky" Avelis Jr. pulled down his first greasy pole flag in the third round during Saturday's competition with a great finish to his championship walk.
Avelis slipped 3/4 of the way to the flag but in a half crawl, half slide he was able to get to the flag and pull it down. Avelis also had a pair of strong walks in Sunday's competition including a very close call on the first walk of the second round.
Avelis, 32, is on quite a roll when it comes to greasy pole competition as he was one of the winners last November in the special Fall Classic greasy pole event, an event that was held at Newell Stadium with the old greasy pole platform that collapsed in late September.