Staffordshire's own exponents have a proud record in this most bizarre of sports - and the World Championships are held in the summer, right here in this area
Originating in Staffordshire, and counting among its greatest champions some Staffordshire men and women, Toe-Wrestling is a sport in which we locals excel.
In Saturday 13 June 2009, the world championships will be held once again at the Bentley Brook Inn, near Ashbourne on the Staffordshire/Derbyshire border. All contenders are welcome
The rules are simple - two bare-footed competitors face other across the 'toedium' interlock big toes and try to force each other off the said toedium.
Some walkers passing the time of day at Ye Olde Royal Oak Inn in Wetton near Dovedale in the Staffordshire Peak District originally came up with the idea.
The then landlord at the Royal Oak, George Burgess, took up the idea enthusiastically and by 2003, the World Championships were celebrating their tenth anniversary at the pub. (See link that report on the top right-hand side of this page).
Staffordshire to their Toes
The switch of venue - to the Bentley Brook Inn - has seen local success continue.
The two greatest champions (arguably) are Alan 'Nasty' Nash - from Stoke -, and Paul 'Toeminator' Beech - from Burton. Fired on by their fanatical Staffordshire supporters, they have kept the county in the forefront of the sport.
'Nasty', who was once voted the second most eccentric man in Britain for his chicken-whispering abilities, was wont to prepare for the competition by squeezing a broom handle with his toes.
However, could the next championships prove Staffordshire's undoing?
Attracting high-level sponsors (Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream was the main sponsor for many years) has meant that more and more countries, nettled by these Brits' proud boasting, started entering their own contestants - with competitors arriving from all over northern Europe, and from as far away as Australia and Japan.
last updated: 06/03/2009 at 16:01
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