Monday, July 22, 2013

43rd Annual World Championship Dainty Contest


Have you ever wanted to play on old German street game requiring only a whittled broom stick and eat a bologna sandwich while nuns watch enthusiastically with the sounds of a rag time band playing in the background?  Look no further than Schnitzelburg.

On the last Monday on July, a block of Hoertz Street, otherwise known as George Hauck Way, closes down for the annual World Championship Dainty Contest.

George Hauck / Photo by Zahra Farah (Courier Journal)
Revived in 1971 by George Hauck and Charlie Vettiner, the Dainty Contest celebrates its 43rd year this July.  The games are played next to Hauck’s Handy Store, a staple in the Schnitzelburg neighborhood since 1912.  The namesake of the store, George Hauck, will be 93 years old at this year’s Dainty Contest.

Dainty is a game that originated by German immigrants in 1800.  The game requires a 5” stick and a 3’ stick, which can be cheaply made from an old broom stick with the bristles removed.  The 5” stick, known as the dainty, is placed on the ground (usually with cone shaped ends) and the 3’ stick is used to hit the dainty.  The object is to get tap the dainty, making it airborne, hit it like a baseball, and try to get the dainty the furthest, all with one hand behind your back.  Contestants get three strikes (one strike = any contact between both sticks) and then they’re out.

The "dainty"
Though it may sound simple, it isn’t.  Most people don’t even get the dainty more than a couple of feet, let alone a few inches.  However, the record was broken last year by Herb Rowe with a whopping 149 feet and seven inches, beating the previous record that was set in 1981!  The winner gets a trophy and bragging rights, while the person who hit the dainty the shortest goes home with a basket of lemons.  Oh, there is a strange catch – you must be 45 or older to play.

 But the event isn’t just for adults over 45.  Hoertz and Goss will be littered with a mix of people on the upcoming July evening, from little tikes enjoying cotton candy to hipsters having some cool brews to grown-ups playing the lotto out of brightly lit Kentucky Lottery mobiles. 

After the initial contest there will be a one-legged race for the kids and a band, so you might want to bring your dancing shoes.

You can pick up a Dainty meal  – a bologna sandwich, a bag of chips and a whole dill pickle - for the unbelievably low price of $2.00!  Add to this a copious amount of beer and ice cold soft drinks and it’s a party!

Event organizer Gary Allen MC-ing the event
The 43rd World Championship Dainty Contest will be played on Monday, July 29th beginning at 5:45.

According to the Courier Journal, “City and state officials expected to attend the event include Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson, Mayor Greg Fischer, Louisville Metro Council President Jim King, Jefferson Circuit Clerk David Nicholson and Jefferson County Property Valuation Administrator Tony Lindauer.”

There will be door prizes and a 32” flat screen television giveaway at the end of the night. Proceeds from the Dainty Contest benefit The Little Sisters of the Poor.

We hope to see you there!




List of Dainty Winners:

1971 Pete Goeing
1972 Al Wilding
1973 Jack McGrath
1974 Alton Beckman
1975 Dick Strauss
1976 C. L. Cundiff
1977 Norton Reibert
1978 Russ Horlander
1979 Pete Goeing
1980 C. L. Cundiff
1981 Gene Klein
1982 Bill Becht
1983 Leon Welch
1984 Coy Thomas
1985 Jerry Tucker
1986 Herman Kipp
1987 Bill Becht
1988 Charlie Vettiner
1989 Bert Robbens
1990 Cy Just
1991 Ed Hollkamp
1992 John Hoeck
1993 Paul Craig
1994 Paul Craig
1995 Tom Huelsman
1996 Stewart Peters
1997 Jim Turner
1998 Bill Becht
1999 Bill Ridge
2000 Stewart Morrisey
2001 Norbert Riegling
2002 Bert Robben
2003 Bert Robben
2004 David Woods
2005 John Belski
2006 John Yarmuth
2007 Kevin Triplett
2008 Tony Lindauer
2009 Mark Misback
 2010 Barry Bernson
 2011 Jerry Clark
2012 Herb Rowe (new record of 149ft 7 inches)

2013 ???

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