Parlor Spider...Step In, Little Fly

Insightful thoughts and/or rants from atop the soapbox from one who wishes to share the "right" opinion with everyone.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Louisville or Dorset, England? Take Your Pick

I didn't have a fancy hat so the Kentucky Derby was out for me. those who went got a good soaking just before the race, and I expect there were many obstructed view seats due to the parade of hats (rivaled only by the parade of horses going to the starting gate). Those who have attended the event marvel at the spectacle, enhanced, one might suspect, by several mint juleps. Expensive? probably. Crowded? most certainly. There were other choices this weekend, though. One needed only to head to Dorset, England, where not one but TWO long-running festivals were being held, each of which featured contests of derring-do not for the faint of heart.
There was the Dorset Knob Throwing Contest, an event at which more than 700 participants took three shots at tossing a knob (locally-made biscuit about the size and density of a golf ball) underhanded the greatest distance. Last year's winner (and new record holder) was Dave Phillips who chucked his knob (sounds somewhat salacious, no?) 29.4 meters (96 ft. in American). For his efforts, Dave, and all winners, receive the winning biscuit, a plaque, and recognition on the town hall board of distinction. Not something you would like to see? Five thousand people turned out this year to watch the contest!
If biscuit-tossing is not your style, how about the contest running for 26 years at The Bottle Inn Pub: nettle eating? Yep. you read that right...contestant eat as many 2-ft. sections of nettles as they can in one hour. Logically, this year's contest attracted fewer participants than the knob throwing thing, but even so, 50 contestants vied for the title with more than 2,000 spectators in awed observance.
The trick, as I understand it is twofold:
1. contestants roll the sections before putting them in their mouth so they can avoid most of the sting that normally comes from the plant's leaves.
2. After a minute or so, the mouth and tongue get numb from the stinging so eating isn't as much of a challenge.
While the results were not available from this year's contest, the record stands at 75 feet consumed in one hour.
And no corporate sponsorship, I would imagine!


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