One hundred eight-six deep-voiced bullfrogs — a record number — jumped at John Sutter Elementary School’s 54th Frog Jump April 26 in Santa Clara.
Dare-devil Sutter dads went frog-catching on three separate nights, driving two hours one way to canals near Los Baños.
They combed the canal banks, spotting frogs with laser lights, scooping them up in nets, and bagging them. Two mornings, they didn’t get home until about 4:30 a.m.
“Sometimes it’s fun to catch frogs by hand just to say you can do it,” said Sutter alumnus and dad Travis Flora. “You get down on your belly and snatch them up.”
The annual frog jump culminates a week of studying frogs for the K – 5th grade Sutter students. Each frog is jumped only two times. At the end of the day, all are returned to the canals were they were captured.
The release of the 2019 children’s book ROSIE THE RIBETER: The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, by Darcy Pattison, was timed to coincide with Sutter’s frog jump.
The book tells the true story of the female bullfrog from Sutter School who set and still holds the 1986 world’s record for triple-jumps — 21 feet 5 3/4 inches.
Pattison interviewed retired Sutter teacher Bill Guzules for the book. Guzules, the late Lee Giudici, also a teacher, and Dennis Matasci jumped Rosie the Ribeter at the Calaveras County Fair & Jumping Frog Jubilee.
“Rosie the Ribeter is a fantastic biography of our own Sutter frog Rosie and our beloved retired teachers Lee Giudici and Bill Guzules and good friend Denny Matasci,” said Sutter Principal Michael Fong. “It shares a part of our Sutter frog jump history with all ages. It’s a fun read!”
Sutter School’s 2019 triple-jump winner was first grader Layla’s frog “Cupcake” with a distance of 17 feet 9 inches. Layla won the opportunity to jump a different frog for Sutter at the 2019 Calaveras County Fair — www.frogtown.org.
The fair is May 16 – 19 at Angels Camp, a gold rush town 135 miles northeast of Sutter School’s campus. Will Layla’s frog break Rosie’s world record? Will anyone’s frog?