Annual Round Rock Contest Rolls On
The Gig Harbor Round Rock competition was first created back in 1951 by C.E. Shaw, a popular Gig Harbor figure who was always looking for ways to have fun. Shaw had become well known for entertaining Gig Harbor with rooster races in the ‘30s and ‘40s.
The concept was simple: “He who finds the roundest rock wins.”
Although the annual contest faded over the years, in 1998 the Round Rock contest was re-introduced, and now winners are announced each year during the first weekend in June as part of the Gig Harbor Chamber's Maritime Gig Festival.
Rooster-Racing Puts Gig Harbor On The Map
In 1935, a Gig Harbor entrepreneur named Clarence E. Shaw created a new and whimsical sporting event – rooster races. He remembered how the chickens would come running when his mother banged on a feed pan in the farmyard and he decided that a Rooster Race would put Gig Harbor on the map.
The first race was appropriately comical – one of seven contestants skedaddled from the start line and was not found for days. But the crowd loved it and "there was enough press coverage to convince Shaw he had a winning idea"
He built an 80-foot racetrack, lined with a miniature village called Roosterville. He put "jockey shirts" on the roosters for easy identification and hired pretty local girls to be be Roosterettes.
The Rooster Races made national news and in 1938, Shaw and his roosters were whisked to New York to race in Madison Square Garden. The Rooster Races continued to be a Gig Harbor tradition until the novelty finally wore off in 1948.
The Meaning Of Kopachuck
The word “Kopachuck” derives from the language of the Chinook Tribe, a band of Pacific Coastal Indians. Kopachuck is a blend of two words: “kopa” meaning “at” and “chuck” meaning “water.”
The Puyallup and Nisqually Indian Tribes used the area – around what is now Kopachuck State Park situated on Henderson Bay – for seasonal fishing and clam gatherings.
Sturdy Gertie Replaces Galloping Gertie
The 1950 Tacoma Narrows Bridge, aka Sturdy Gertie, is a suspension bridge that carries the westbound lanes of Washington State Route 16 across the Tacoma Narrows strait, between the city of Tacoma and the Kitsap Peninsula. Opened on October 14, 1950, it was built in the same location as the original Tacoma Narrows Bridge, aka Galloping Gertie (pictured left), which collapsed due to a windstorm on November 7, 1940.
Sturdy Gertie is the older of the twin bridges that make up the Tacoma Narrows Bridge crossing of the Tacoma Narrows, and carried both directions of traffic across the strait until 2007. At the time of its construction, the bridge was, like its predecessor, the third-longest suspension bridge in the world in terms of main span length, behind the Golden Gate Bridge and George Washington Bridge; it is now the 31st longest suspension bridge in the world.