The history of this bizarre eating competition can be traced back to the mid 1980s, when local farmers started the ‘Longest Stinging Nettle’ competition, to see who could grow the longest stem of nettles. Things went along just fine, until 1989, when Alex Williams presented a 15ft 6inches-long nettle, and claimed that if anyone could find a stem longer than his, he would it, As luck would have it, an American actually found a 16ft-long nettle, and Mr. Williams kept his word. From there on in, the competition evolved into the competitive eating challenge we now know as the Nettle Eating World Championships.
On June 19th, competitors were each served two-feet-long stinging nettle stalks, from which they had to pluck and eat the leaves. After an hour of eating, the bare stalks were measured and contestants who ate the most nettles, named winners.
In the men’s competition, first time participant Sam Cunningham managed to eat a whopping 74ft of stinging nettles, and claimed the title of king of the 2010 Nettle Eating World Championships. In the women’s contest, Laura Revell managed to consume 40ft of nettle, and win the title of champion.
Pictures: REUTERS/Chris Helgren