March 23, 1976: A bullfrog lifts weights during training at Croaker College for the upcoming Calaveras County frog jumping competition.
Staff writer David Larsen reported in the March 28, 1976 Los Angeles Times:
SACRAMENTO – Life for a frog isn’t always what it’s croaked up to be.
There’s more to it than just sitting on a lily pad, counting your spots.
For one thing, there are those constant jumping competitions. Pressure, pressure, pressure.
“It gets to them after a while,” explained Bill Steed.
For this reason he began Croaker College, an institution of higher learning for frogs. In its six years of existence, more than 150 graduates have jumped out into the world, their egos shining.
“It started in 1970 when I wrote the late Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller in Arkansas about the frog he was going to enter in the contest at Angels Camp,” Steed recalled. “I told the governor I could teach his entry to be a positive thinker.”
This occurred to Steed because he deals in recording and literature on sleep learning.
“When we go to sleep, our screening defenses are down,” he explains. “The subconscious accepts what it hears.”
After Rockefeller’s frog arrived, Steed set about to hypnotize him and build his confidence.
“I told him his spots were as nice as anybody else’s, and I kept repeating: You must win, you can win, you will win!”
And, on the day of the Calaveras County jumping competition, the governor’s frog did win.
Since then the word has spread and bull frogs by the dozen are sent to Steed to be brainwashed for the annual amphibian Olympics in May. …
This photo by staff photographer John Malmin accompanied Larsen’s article.
The Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee is held every May. The website is frogtown.org.
This May 9, 2010 Los Angeles Times story “Calaveras County: Still hopping to it” is online.
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