Clamshell pitching, a South Jersey tradition that dates back over a hundred years, was played on the Cape May beaches today as residents, tourists, and Philadelphia Eagles cheerleaders kick off the summer tourism season.
The 2nd annual "Clam-A-Rama" was held in Cape May on Saturday afternoon.
Joe McGettigan, founder of Clam Drain, explained, "Why we're doing it today is to kick off the summer season."
On the surface, it may look like just another beach game, but to the players in the Clam-A-Rama clamshell pitching tournament in Cape May, this tradition means the start of summer on the Cape Island.
Colleen Buckley, Vice President of Marketing for Cape Resorts, explained, "Well it's the kick off of summer! The Beach Shack opens this weekend, with the Rusty Nail, so what better way to kick off the summer than a good, old fashioned clam pitching tournament?"
For those unfamiliar with the sport, clam shell pitching is played just like horse shoes but you toss a clam shell instead of a horse shoe and you dig a hole in the sand which acts as the metal stake.
With 18 teams playing in the tournament, Philadelphia Eagles cheerleaders were on hand to pump up the competition.
Some participants came all the way from Florida for the day's event. Ed Forler, a participant in the tournament, said, "I came from Miami Florida up here to do the Clam-A-Rama and to enjoy the summer and to kick off the summer in Cape May to remind me of my childhood summers."
The tournament was followed with food and drink specials at the Beach Shack and Rusty Nail, which both opened for the summer season on Saturday. Buckley added, "Well really everything is starting now. This weekend is the kickoff of the whole summer and all of the hotels are open, all of the restaurants are open in Cape May so it's a great summer tradition."
The Boyle family won the tournament and said, "Excellent choice - it was a great day of fun."