Rubbery-faced hopefuls took turns in pulling the ugliest, eye-bulging, nostril-flaring, mouth-mangling face possible on Saturday at the World Gurning Championships.
Contestants put their heads through a horse collar or ‘braffin’ and have a set time in which to contort their faces into the most grotesque expression possible. The person who gets the biggest cheers from the crowd wins! Tommy Mattinson, not only retained his title as the World Gurning Champion, which he’s held continuously since 2001, but has equaled his fathers record by taking the title for the tenth time.
One of the rules states that “contestants should be judged both on the grotesqueness of the grimace and the extent to which their facial features change,” so being ugly to start with is not a natural advantage, it’s all about the transformation. It’s the highlight of the annual Crab Fair in Egremont, Cumbria. It dates back to 1267 to celebrate the time when the Lord of Egremont wheeled a cart of crab apples through the village to give to the poor. Due to their sharp taste, it is said the gurning competition originates from the faces the locals made when they bit into the apples.