USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘contest’
Legends

Hairy Man Road

 

Main piece:

Hairy man road is an actual road in Round Rock, Texas. There is a story that is circulated in the town that goes like this: “There was a little boy and his family was moving to Texas but he got separated from them somehow– maybe fell out of wagon– and he ends up living in woods but as he grows up he grows out of his clothes so because of adaptation he was just covered in hair from head to toe even his face was hairy. He was known as the hairy man of hairy man road and he didn’t know how to interact with people so he harassed everyone who came his way. One day he got run over by a car and his ghost lives there. People say they still see the ghost when they pass Hairy Man Road.”

There’s a Hairy Man Road festival in October and the hairiest men have a contest to see who’s the hairiest. The participants take off their shirts and there’s judges too. It’s held in the park across from the informant’s house and all ages show up for the event.

 

Informant also says she remembers being told that someone got hanged on the same road and you see his ghost too, which is a different story from the Hairy Man. There’s a lot of stories told to and from the residents about Hairy Man Road.

 

Background information (Why does the informant know or like this piece? Where or who did they learn it from? What does it mean to them?):

Informant grew up in Round Rock, Texas. She says she first heard the story in elementary school at a afterschool day care. A friend told her when everyone was sharing spooky stories. The road is actually spooky. She said it didn’t come to her mind that the festival remembering Hairy Man was weird to everyone else until she shared this with me.

Context (When or where would this be performed? Under what circumstance?):

It is a common stories told when sharing scary stories in Round Rock. Kids enjoy circulating the story to each other to scare each other. Because of the festival, the locals typically know the story already. When people drive by Hairy Man Road, a local might share to others if they are together in the car. It’s not really shared outside of the locals unless asked about. It’s not a secret, but it’s not common knowledge.

Personal Analysis:

I was surprised to hear about the legend of this road. I’ve never heard of it before, and I wouldn’t have if I didn’t ask a Round Rock local about their traditions. It’s interesting to hear and know about new small U.S. legends. I’m most shocked to find that a story that sounds fictional can become an annual festival. I’ve never experienced such a ridiculous and funny event before.

For another version of this proverb, see “The Legend of Hairy Man Road.” Weird Texas. Weirdus, n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2017. http://weirdus.com/states/texas/bizarre_beasts/hairy_man_road/index.php

general
Legends

High School Song Contest

This tradition was told in a setting where a group of friends were recounting old and weird high school traditions. This is one from a small private all-girl’s school in Ohio.

“So in my high school, my high school is like a school that’s all grades, like you can go there from the time you’re two years old to when you graduate, I just went when I went o high school, and in the highs school there’s this thing that each grade, so just the four, they do a thing called song contest and each grade will pick a theme and it’s super secretive and then you have to pick songs like four or five songs that fit that theme and change the lyrics to be about my high school Laurel, and you have to play your own music, so like you can’t play a stereo, you have to get your own music and your own dances, and then the alumni will vote on the best and which celebrates Laurel the most, and it’s this whole thing because my school’s been around since 1896 so there’s some very old alumni, and like, they’re like, conspiracies that like you have to pick older songs cause the old people aren’t going to know, and last year the juniors did beyonce and it was good like super good, but they didn’t win because basically because they chose too new of the artists or something like that, and there’s another conspiracy that like if the seniors don’t win it’s like a riot, and I guess that like once the seniors didn’t win and all their rich parents were like we’re defunding, we’re taking back our loans and all that, but like the seniors haven’t won a few times, like we didn’t win when we were seniors and we were fine, there was some people though who made it a big thing because they have ties to alumni and all that”

Analysis:

It’s clear to see that the reasoning behind the rumours around the song contest – it would mean more chances to win. However, it is interesting about the seniors needing to win, because it would seem that perhaps it would ENSURE that the senior class would win. However, as the informant noted, her class did not win and there were no repercussions.

Festival
Holidays

Persian Dance Contest

 

Persian Dance Contest

Holiday/Tradition

 

As part of the Persian New Year, my informant’s Jewish school held a Persian Dance Contest. My informant described it in the following transcript of our interview:

 

“Every year during the Persian New Year, a holiday which honors the Jews of Persia, we have a Persian dance contest. Any student, pretty much everybody, would take part in these dances. The winners got prizes, like gift cards. Judges were usually parents that were from Persia. Everybody loved the holiday: dancing felt silly and fun, and it was a good break from the usual school day.”

The Persian Dance contest links all of the students to a heritage only 40% have. Sharing the dances and emphasizing the authenticity (through the “actual” Persian judges”), the students become involved in a different culture and identity, raising awareness of other cultures and solidifying the group as a whole.

Game

Druzzles

“Okay, so one of the games that we play in college is called Druzzles. And, uh, it’s this thing where a bunch of us drink heavily. We have a bunch of shots, get really drunk… and once we are sufficiently inebriated, then you pair up into teams of two and um, everyone busts out a small, one hundred piece puzzle, fifty piece puzzle, something like that, and then you, uh, someone starts, uh, like, a timer or something like that and all of the teams race to see who can finish the puzzle first, which is always an interesting game to see because everyone’s really drunk.”

 

This drinking game is particularly interesting because, unlike many other drinking games, it requires a lot of forethought. Most other drinking games require little more than some cups, ping-pong balls, or a stack of cards. On the other hand, for Druzzles, you have to go out and buy multiple small puzzles and prepare for the game (unless you’ve played the game several times and already have enough small puzzles.)

Druzzles represents an interesting perversion of a childhood game, but also, in some ways, a reversion to childhood. The informant mentioned that the puzzles they use for the game are very small (50-100 pieces). These types of puzzles tend to be made for children (he also told me that the puzzles they use often have cartoon characters from popular children’s television shows.) On the one hand, Druzzles takes a childhood game and perverts or sullies it by incorporating the aspect of underage drinking. On the other hand, the game sort of represents a method for one to revert to a child-like state of mind. When you are a kid, a 50-100 piece puzzle can be quite challenging and might occupy an hour of playtime with a friend. When you are an adult, such a simple puzzle can be put together in mere minutes, especially with the help of a friend. However, all of the drinking that is involved in this game can make it very difficult for the participants to put together the puzzles.

It’s fitting that the informant learned this game in college. After all, college is a liminal period in one’s life; you’re no longer a kid but you’re not quite a fully formed adult. The game of Druzzles conflates these phases of life by incorporating elements from childhood (the puzzles) and elements of adulthood (drinking.)

[geolocation]