Thursday, September 24, 2009

World Gurning Championships

The World Gurning Championships were held at their traditional venue at the Egremont Crab Fair this past weekend. Gordon Blalock (right) was victorious for the first time in 13 tries.

Gurning is the making of faces. Practiced throughout rural England, the most famous competition takes palace at the Crab Fair in Egremont. Accounts differ, but the fair is really, really old. It began in 1267 (not a misprint), with the first gurning competition held there thirty years later when King Henry III gave the fair a Royal Charter, which apparently caused the Lord of the Manor to distribute crabapples to the folks at the fair. The first faces were made in response to eating the bitter crabapples and a seven-hundred year tradition was born.

Blalock had the good fortune of having Tommy Mattinson (center in lower right photo), absent for this year's competition. Mattinson, was the eight-time defending champion, and the record holder with eleven overall titles beating the record of ten gurning championships held by his father Gordon Mattinson (lower left). Bet they have some amazing holiday photos.

The first female competitor was Mabel Braddock who took part in 1966, but the only woman (and the only US citizen) to make the overall top 3 in the post-war era (1945-present), was Marie Quinn who was runner up in 1974 (photo, sadly, unavailable). You can see the entire post-war winners list on the Egremont Fair website.

For those of you radio-face people out there thinking this gurning championship is easy pickins, the 2010 competition is scheduled for September 18th.

Egremont Crab Fair (photo)
Ananova (photo)
Woodlands Junior School (photo)
Guiness World Records (photo)

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