To continue in the vein of “weird dang sports that you may or may not have ever heard of,” today I decided to write today about “gurning.”
Who doesn’t love a good gurn? You know what gurning is, right? It’s another sport that originated in the Northern UK, much like the noble Yorkshire Coalmen’s sport called ferret legging (see my previous post). It seems gurning is native of Cumbria to be exact. The Egremont Crab Fair has been hosting this competition since 1267. Have I narrowed it down? Still confused about what gurning is?
Here ya go. Gurning! Peter Jackman (no relation to Hugh, so far as I know) was famous for his gurn, and won the championship multiple times. He had all his lower teeth pulled out to make his jaw more flexible for his awesome gurnage. In 2001 he was hiking with friends in Spain, and was crushed by a boulder, which goes to show you, gurning is an utterly dangerous sport! And it’s fun. Anyone can do it (although it seems to go better if you are missing most of the teeth in your lower jaw).
And if we can’t tuck our noses into our lower lip, I propose that there’s something wrong with us, not with them. You have to wear a mule collar around your head when you gurn, or your’e doing it wrong.
Tommy Mattinson has won the championship every year since 1999 (except for 2008). His dad Gordon won 10 times during the 1960s-1970s.
This guy’s done a world tour. He’s been to Japan, and to the US. He’s even been on Leno & Letterman. Tommy’s even gurned for the Queen. Quite an honor. If you’ve ever wanted to see a monarch repulsed by her subjects, just take a look at the video above.
So, once a year, I’d suggest going to Cumbria, and enjoying a bit of gurning, maybe a crab apple or two (it’s not named after actual crabs…), a pint, and make a few people laugh!