And now, the Greased-Pole Climb:
One person stands at the bottom, grasping the slippery pole. Another climbs on his shoulders. Yet another crawls up on both teammates, scrambling for a foothold in belt loops and pants pockets. Finally, the smallest and nimblest of the team tries to shimmy up to the very top and retrieve the prize, in this case, a $10 bill.
It was part of the Bull Run Country Music Jamboree Saturday outside of Centreville, Va., where between 5,000 and 7,000 gathered for the festivities. There were games--sack races and watermelon seed spits; there were country music stars--Louise Mandrell, Ronnie Milsap, and the Bellamy Brothers; and there were contests--for hog calling, frog jumping and both the hairiest and the smoothest legs in Northern Virginia.
The crowd made itself at home on the grassy expanse in front of the stage on towels, blankets, chairs and chaise longues, listening to music throughout the day. Some walked around the park to participate in the various games and events.
Alice Franklin won the hog-calling contest with her squeals and snorts ("Soo-EEEEE! Snort snort snort. Soo-EEEEE!"). Others tried ("Here, piggy piggy . . ."), but Franklin was the hands-down favorite of the judges, one of whom wore a baseball cap with a pink felt pig snout in front.
The first frog jump of the day, 56 inches, cajoled by young Ayron Athey, won that contest. Other contestants tried valiantly, thumping their hands on the ground, yelling "GO! GO!" and even ribit-ing. But some of the uncooperative amphibians would not budge.
The contests for the hairiest (men's) and smoothest (women's) legs in Virginia were held on the main stage during a break from the music.
"I gotta feel to make sure here," said the woman who emceed the Hairy Legs contest. "Ooooh . . . that's nice," she said. "You got a chest to match, too!" She growled a series of bawdier asides into the microphone throughout the event, which Pat Wright of Arlington won over about 50 contestants. His feelings on his prize-winning legs?
"I was just born that way. I can't help it."
The country music stars gave autographs after their performances, for which hundred of fans lined up, buying T-shirts, records and posters for their favorites to sign. There were also T-shirts advertising "KIX 106" (WPKX-FM), the country music station sponsoring the jamboree with the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority.
And about those folks on the Greased-Pole Climb. Last year's champions were clearly the crowd's favorite, though they did not retain their title: When the team fell just shy of the pole's apex, sympathetic onlookers tossed them $30. CAPTION: Picture, Bobby Simmons grabs the $10 bill tow win the greased-poll contest; By Gerald Martineau