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New documentary looks at LC Valley birling champions | News

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New documentary looks at LC Valley birling champions
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New documentary looks at LC Valley birling champions

Eleven individual world championships in 12 years - an amazing feat for any athletes in any sport. Between them, four young women from the Lewis-Clark Valley did just that starting in the late 1950s.


The Queens of the Roleo Documentary´╗┐ is currently being produced by David Jones. His wife, who was born and raised in Lewiston, was talking to him about the sport of birling last winter. "I did some online research and found that there were four young women from the area who dominated the sport for 12 years. That's when I decided to track them down and find out more," Jones says.


Jones was intrigued by the story of those who helped bring some fame to their hometowns in the sport of birling, or log rolling, from 1958 to 1972. Cindy Cook-Toste, Bette Ellis-Jordan, Barbara Peterka-Newbry, and Penni McCall-Dixon went on to roll their way into the record books. They were coached by Roy Bartlett, a former pond monkey at the local lumber mill - Potlatch Corporation.


World Championships:

  • Bette - 1958, 1960, 1963, 1964, 1965
  • Barbara - 1962
  • Cindy - 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970
  • Penni - 1972

"They were the Michael Jordans of their sport...all from little Lewiston, Idaho," Jones says. His research has included talking to Bartlett, all of the women, and local historian Stephen Branting, and delving into the University of Idaho Potlatch archives.


"I have uncovered old home movies of the girls log rolling. They opened their scrapbooks to me. The yellowing memories have come alive. Old trophies have been dusted off. Calked shoes have come out of storage," Jones says.


Jones says he plans to have the documentary completed and ready for a premier in Lewiston in the spring. He will also enter it into film festivals and make it available to the public. In an effort to help offset the costs of the documentary, Jones says he will be starting a Kick starter campaign, with information on that to be shared on the "Queens of the Roleo" Facebook page.

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