Prost! Oxford resident earns place in national steinholding competition

What started off as teasing from his grandkids has led 67-year-old Oxford resident Kim Planert to New York City for a nationals competition in stein-holding.

The sport is as simple as it sounds, with competitions typically held during the Oktoberfest season. Pour a one-liter stein glass full of beer, until it weighs five pounds, and extend your arm out until it wears out and a drop of tasty beer spills on the ground.

Jim Banko, commissioner, and founder of the U.S. Steinholding Association, helped explain the sport and the competitors he helps to foster.

“As we say on the website, to make it in steinholding, you have to be ‘the kind of maniac that wants to experience the thrill of holding a beer stein further from your mouth and for a longer amount of time than nature ever intended,’” Banko said.

Banko said while the sport may look obscure, it might just be harder than you think.

“It probably seems like a silly sport to the untrained eye, and we get that and try not to take ourselves too seriously,” Bank said. “...If you’ve ever tried it you’ll know that after the first couple of minutes it starts to get pretty uncomfortable, the feeling does not go away until after you put the stein down.”

A former mover, and current delivery driver, Planert said his stein-holding career began in 2011 at the Germania Society of Cincinnati Oktoberfest he attended with his family.

“I was with my grandkids at the time, and they pointed it out and said ‘grandpa, do that, do that,’” Planert said. “So I did, and I won.”

The thrill of winning the competition didn’t stop there however, Planert said that from 2011-2019, he smashed previous records during the annual Oktoberfest competition.

“I just wanted the record every year,” Planert said.

According to the US Steinholding Association website, an average time for men’s competition is somewhere in the three to five-minute range. Planert said he had been setting times as high as 11 minutes.

In 2019, Planert said he decided to see where this niche sport could take him. First, however, he had to do some convincing.

“I told my wife that I’m gonna branch out and see what else I can do with this, I hadn’t been anywhere else, just that little part,” Planert said. “My wife is telling me I’m doing things that should be working around the house…, but she’s very understanding that for a month or two here I’ll be kind of tied up on the weekends.”

Planert’s stein-holding pursuit took him to places like Columbus, Chicago, Nashville and the famous Oktoberfest Zinzinnati.

“Each place, I’m winning,” Planert said. “I’m setting record times.”

What made each competition win extra fun for Planert, was his age, and his lack of practice. Planert said his job working up to 60 hours a week as a delivery driver holding packages out in a similar way had given him all the edge he needs to face and beat competitors half his age.

“I don’t practice at all, if I practice too much, my arms get sore, then I won’t perform well,” Planert said. “I think I’m just really blessed by God, is just the bottom line. I shouldn’t be here, I shouldn’t be able to do this.”

It was about this time that Planert found out about the U.S. Steinholding Association, and by competing in qualifying rounds, he could work his way to the top competition.

After raising his glass all the way through qualifying competitions, Planert placed high enough to be one of thirteen competitors to travel to New York City for the National Masskrugstemmen Championship, which was Sept. 17.

With a time of exactly 8 minutes, Planert placed 4th, with winner David Sturzen winning with a time of 12 minutes and 37 seconds.

Although it was the 10-minute time he was aiming for, Planert said he was proud of his efforts, and felt he left it all on the table.

“the problem was I didn’t make 10 minutes, so I can’t be mad at myself for only a fourth-place finish,” Planert said.

Looking ahead, Planert said he would be returning to one of his favorite local Oktoberfests in Minster, Ohio, where he will look to capture a third consecutive stein-holding victory.

Also on the calendar, is Oxford’s very first “Oxtoberfest” and while it doesn’t have a stein-holding competition on the ledger as of now, Planert said he is working to bring the competition to town.

“You get the college kids doing something like this, you could get house against house, sorority against sorority,” Planert said. “Anybody can pick up a stein and you can give it a go, you might only get two minutes, but you’re going to have a ball beating your daughter or sister or brother out there,” he said.

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