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Kiwis are world's best egg-throwers

By ERIC SHACKLE, in Sydney, Australia

Kiwis hens are world champions for birds laying the largest eggs in proportion to their body weight. Now two male Kiwis have won the World Egg-Throwing Championship, held in the English village of Swaton, Lincolnshire, on June 25.

Two turkey farmers from New Zealand's South Island, Andrew McKay and Nigel Tiffin, defeated 87 other entrants from England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Portugal, Russia and Bulgaria.

The weird international sport attracted contestants whose ages ranged from that of a local girl named Holly (7) to a Bulgarian named George (67). Other "nominated" players represented Australia, America, Canada, Qatar, and Libya.

Holly adopted a strange but initially effective "chuck" style of lobbing the egg to just beyond the halfway mark, relying on the unbroken egg to bounce its way to her partner. She got through the heats but was no match for the more orthodox style adopted by most of the grown-up contestants.

Interviewed by UK and US TV reporters after the event, the winners said they had practised with ostrich eggs before the event. The uneven ground and blustery conditions were difficult to cope with. They knew they would do well when competing with free-range organic eggs because the shells were harder that they had been used to back home.

The official news release issued by the World Egg-Throwing Federation said, "the eventual winning distance was estimated at 72 metres" (wot, no tape measures?). That was a long way short of the world record, established on November 12, 1978, in Jewett, Texas, when Johnie Dell Foley threw a fresh egg the almost incredible distance of 98.51m. (323ft 2in) to his cousin, Keith Thomas, who caught it flawlessly.

When we described that event in a previous story, we remarked that many of the other catchers no doubt finished with egg on their faces. That dreadful pun (and the only one in this story), held good in Swaton, too.

Although the egg-throwing contest took place while England was playing Ecuador in the Soccer World Cup in Germany, which kept many sports lovers away (despite the large-screen TV in the bar), Swaton Show organisers said attendance was up on last year. Local charities will benefit by more than £6000.

Organiser Andy Dunlop, who founded the Federation, said "We expect next year's event to draw in more of the world's finest egg-throwers, and go from strength to strength. We are also hoping for full Sports Council recognition by then. This should be in the Olympics!”

Kiwi eggs are proportionately larger compared to the size of the adult female than the eggs of any other bird. An egg may reach one-quarter of its mother’s weight. After the first egg is laid, the male takes over incubation and nest maintenance. Incubation takes about eleven weeks but if the female returns to lay another egg, the male has to sit on the clutch for a much longer time. Leaving the nest only occasionally, the male’s weight can decrease by up to one third.
- Kiwi Web.



Story first posted June 2006

Copyright © 2006

Eric Shackle

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