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Wellie Wanging (Gumboot Throwing) Competitions

Wellie Wanging (or Welly Wanging, Gumboot Throwing) is a sport where contestants toss a Wellington boot as far as possible within the border from the starting line. This unusual sport became popular in Upperthong, Holmfirth in Britain as a form of distraction for villagers. They lived in a rural village where they needed to create different and imaginative games to while away the time.

The villagers had high unemployment at that time so it was no surprise that the locals discovered another great use of the Wellington boot – the most popular footwear in the village.

Many people believe that the Wellie Wanging originated from an argument between two farmers drinking at their local pub one night (as many unusual sports do). They saw the glass of ale spilling into the farmer’s Wellington boot. That drew a lot of attention to the man but instead of boos and hisses for being clumsy, they stopped and stared at him as he removed his boot and began to ran after the drink spilling fool out of the pub, then throwing it to the escaping farmer with his improvised rubber weapon. It was unknown if he hit or missed the scared farmer who left the pub in a hurry. A few weeks after that incident, people at the pub kept reenacting the scene. Then the following weeks, they started a competition where they throw the Wellington boot, similar to how the angry farmer did.

The sport is open to all people in different ages, sex, race, creed, religion, nationality and color. There are four categories – men’s, women’s, girls, and boys.

They measure the distance in yards, feet and inches and use a size 9 Dunlop green Wellington Boot with a no steel-top cap. It’s the competitors choice if he or she decides to use a left boot or right boot.

Wellington BootsWellington Boots, made for throwing

The maximum run-up is 42 paces and will end with a straight line of 10 feet in length. The boot must land within the area within the border of straight lines between the Upperthong Gala field and Holme Moss, and on the other line between the field and the Longley Farm windmill.

There’s one winner for each category and will be proclaimed as the World Champion of Wellie Wanging. A prize will be handed out to them by the organizers and will remain the winners for the next 12 months.

There are four standard techniques for Welling Wanging – one handed (most common, using a single hand to toss the wellie), double handed (used with a large-sized wellie with both hands), between the legs (used by beginners, throws the wellie from between the legs while facing towards the target) and backward throw (throws the wellie over the head while facing away from the target).

Wellie Wanging is also popular in other countries like in New Zealand, in a town called Taihape where it is known as the Gumboot-Throwing and in European countries like Finland, Poland and Germany where an annual Boot-Throwing Championship takes place.

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