Pa. sideburns contest celebrates 1813 battle hero
A sideburns contest honoring a U.S. Navy commodore known for his impressive facial hair is marking the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Lake Erie.
The Erie-Times News reports that the winner of the Perry Burns contest will be named this week. Judges will decide who sports the sideburns most like those of Oliver Hazard Perry, who defeated British forces in September 1813. He is considered a War of 1812 hero.
Historical portraits suggest that Perry wore long mutton-chop sideburns that extended toward his lips.
Erie residents say the town had a beard-growing contest marking the battle’s 150th anniversary in 1963.
Participant Kevin Kantz says he’s been growing out his sideburns since July. He says he was inspired by the 1963 contest, which he attended at age 11.
Former Redneck Olympics underway in Maine
Despite being forced to changes its name, the event formerly known as the Redneck Olympic Games continued its tradition Saturday of having unorthodox competitions such as lawn-mower races, mud runs and tire burnouts.
A full day of events was on tap during the Maine Redneck “Blank” Games. Organizer Harold Brooks changed the name under pressure from the International Olympics Committee but noted that “everyone knows what the ‘blank’ stands for.”
Friday’s events included a wedding and a demolition derby. Other events over the weekend included bobbing for pigs’ feet, toilet-seat horseshoes and a greased- watermelon relay race.
The idea behind the event, Brooks said, was to have what amounts to a great big outdoor picnic and pig roast for hardworking people who’ve earned the right to blow off some steam.
Being a redneck, he said, isn’t about living in a trailer or getting drunk.
“A redneck is someone who works hard. They say their neck is red because they work outside. A redneck can make fun of himself and have a good time,” said Brooks, who’s a general contractor.
The Redneck Olympic Games kicked off three years ago. But the name was changed after the International Olympic Committee came after Brooks, telling him he couldn’t brand his event as an Olympic event.
That still doesn’t sit well with Brooks because he doesn’t think anyone should own the rights to a word.
“The word was around before they were around,” he said, pointing to the Olympics’ origins in ancient Greece. “If they want to complain, then they should have the Greeks call and tell me to stop using it.”