September 15, 2017

SHIN KICKING FOR SISSIES:

The King of the Ferret Leggers (Donald Katz, Feb 1, 1983, Outside)

Mr. Reg Mellor, the "king of ferret legging," paced across his tiny Yorkshire miner's cottage as he explained the rules of the English sport that he has come to dominate rather late in life. "Ay lad," said the 72-year-old champion, "no jockstraps allowed. No underpants--nothin' whatever. And it's no good with tight trousers, mind ye. Little bah-stards have to be able to move around inside there from ankle to ankle."

Some 11 years ago I first heard of the strange pastime called ferret legging, and for a decade since then I have sought a publication possessed of sufficient intelligence and vision to allow me to travel to northern England in search of the fabled players of the game.

Basically, the contest involves the tying of a competitor's trousers at the ankles and the subsequent insertion into those trousers of a couple of peculiarly vicious fur-coated, footlong carnivores called ferrets. The brave contestant's belt is then pulled tight, and he proceeds to stand there in front of the judges as long as he can, while animals with claws like hypodermic needles and teeth like number 16 carpet tacks try their damnedest to get out.

From a dark and obscure past, the sport has made an astonishing comeback in the past 15 years. When I first heard about ferret legging, the world record stood at 40 painful seconds of "keepin' 'em down," as they say in ferret-legging circles. A few years later the dreaded one-minute mark was finally surpassed. The current record--implausible as it may seem--now stands at an awesome 5 hours and 26 minutes, a mark reached last year by the gaudily tattooed 72-year-old little Yorkshireman with the waxed military mustache who now stood two feet away from me in the middle of the room, apparently undoing his trousers.

"The ferrets must have a full mouth o' teeth," Reg Mellor said as he fiddled with his belt. "No filing of the teeth; no clipping. No dope for you or the ferrets. You must be sober, and the ferrets must be hungry--though any ferret'll eat yer eyes out even if he isn't hungry."

Posted by at September 15, 2017 3:25 PM

  

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