Can you stomach this?

Can you stomach this? While everyone in town is talking about the upcoming hockey day in Canada, this is the perfect time to remind your readers about another sports competition taking place this month. On January 29, Skagway residents will be hosting th

While everyone in town is talking about the upcoming hockey day in Canada, this is the perfect time to remind your readers about another sports competition taking place this month.

On January 29, Skagway residents will be hosting the second annual Belly Bowl.

Before enlightening the curious, I must first dispel some erroneous notions generally perceived by the uninitiated.

The Belly Bowl is not a setup whereby those of us with proportionally more body are encouraged to be a source of ridicule, just the opposite! It’s a celebration of size.

For those who believe that their athletically competitive days are waning due to a few extra pounds, the Belly Bowl is here to return you to your former glory. No fans are more sincere in their cheering and encouragement than those attending the Bowl.

The evening event is very well organized by the ever busy Buckwheat Donahue, who has enlisted a panel of three judges and a referee to ensure that the rules are adhered to.

Two competitors face each other in the center of a circle drawn on a wrestling mat. The object of the game is to knock your opponent either out of the circle or off his feet, using only the belly. No hands allowed.

Strategy and cunning are essential.

There are both amen’s and a women’s division. Each division is divided into weight categories, but those who belong in the heaviest group may simply claim that’s where they belong if they wish to forgo publicly standing on the scales.

Contestants must wear a top with a smooth surface, having no buttons or other protrusions, and be prepared with a stage name.

The rules, humorous and simple, are distributed well ahead of time and athletes are given a chance to practice before the tournament starts.

Last year, at the first annual Belly Bowl, three of the five trophies awarded went to Yukoners.

The Brew Co Pub in Skagway hosts the meet, so entrants need to be old enough to provide the judges with intoxicating inducements.

Indeed, such bribes were seen last season to increase the marks competitors earned for artistic interpretation. Within easy walking distance of the venue, accommodations can be obtained at either Sergeant Preston’s Motel or the charming White House Bed and Breakfast. It is recommended that arrangements be made ahead of time.

Over and above the concern for national pride and the plan to once again bring the majority of those coveted trophies back to Canada, is the opportunity to have more fun in one night than you ever believed possible. It’s a perfect time of the year to get away for a night. Be amongst the first to try a new sport that has such obvious possibilities of becoming popular across North America. You could introduce it at the staff party next Christmas or at summer barbeques.

One thing is for sure, whether you participate or just cheer, it will be an evening of entertainment you’ll never forget. Don’t miss it.

Dorothea Talsma

Whitehorse