Thousands gather in Old Town Clovis for the 25th annual Pole Vaulting Championship

It's not something you'd expect to see walking down the street.

"Where else are you going to find something like this," said Clovis Business Development Manager Shawn Miller.

But that's exactly why the Pole Vaulting Championship has become a crowd favorite.

"No matter if you're a track and field or sports fan, you want to watch it. It's the MMA of track and field," said spectator Michael LoBue.

Athletes from all over the country took to the skies, and over a pole for this year's 25th annual Pole Vaulting championship on Friday.

Thousands of people flocked to the heart of Old Town Clovis to stop and stare.

Some of those watching, and even some competing like Garret Starkey, have made the event a family affair.

"My parents competed here. My stepmom also vaults, my little sister is vaulting. Everybody in our family pole vaults," said Starkey.

"It's something generations have been able to enjoy together, and generations have enjoyed. This week we'll have 3 competitors who's parents competed in the first part of this," said U.S National Pole Vault coach Brian Yokoyama.

Miller says the event brings in more than $1.5 million every year.

Even more folks are expected to be in town for the Extreme Home Makeover pep rally nearby, as well as from the farmers market that draws in hundreds of shoppers.

"It's going to be bigger this year because of Extreme Home Makeover show, all of our hotel rooms are full," said Miller.

What makes the event so popular is simple.

Folks say It's just different.

"It's this tiny community, but it's known around the world for this event," said LoBue.

"People running down the middle of the street and jumping over a pole? It's cool," said Miller.

This year's teams include competitors from the Central Valley, as well as from Southern California, Nevada, and Arizona.
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