by Jonathan Rudd
What on earth?
The custom of Welly wanging is a sport in which competitors have to throw a Wellington boot, or welly as far as they can. The person who can throw it the furthest is the winner.
How did this happen?
The spiritual home of welly wanging is in Upperthong, near Holmfirth in West Yorkshire. Many years ago at the village pub, it is said that two farmers got into an argument after one of them accidently spilled his pint on the other’s leg. The ale trickled down his foot and into the Wellington boots he was wearing. In anger the wet farmer chased the clumsy farmer out of the pub and in the process took off his boot and threw, or wanged it at the other as he ran away. News of this incident soon travelled around the village and in their amusement the people re-enacted the event by throwing wellies at eachother. This evolved into a game to see who could throw a welly the furthest and so the custom of welly wanging was born. Welly wanging is played all over the world in many countries including New Zealand, Russia, Finland and Italy, but it’s origins are most certainly in Yorkshire.
Every year the Welly Wanging World Championships takes place in Upperthong. Wangers from around the world descend on the village to decide who is the best welly boot thrower. The tournament is split into different competitions for men, women, Boys Under 14 and Girls U14s.
There are strict rules which competitors must follow, including good humour to be shown at all times, the run up to a throw can be no longer than 42 paces and the welly must be a size 9 Dunlop green boot. Anyone can compete regardless of race, age, or gender, even Lancastrians! No umpire is required and a wanger’s word is enough to govern the competition.
The winners of the adult categories receive a trophy and the adulation of welly wangers from across the world. The top children’s wangers receive £5 on which they can spend on what they like.
How do you welly wang?
There are four main techniques of wanging a welly:
The most common technique, where the welly is wanged using either right or left hand. Trying to wang two wellies, one in each hand is strictly forbidden and to be honest would be pretty stupid!
This technique is particularly useful for wanging a large welly, with a short swing technique, the best way to achieve maximum velocity!
Between The Legs
Perhaps the most unusual welly wanging technique where wangers will stand facing their target, but bring the welly between their legs, which are bent slightly. This technique is popular with beginners, especially children.
Standing with their back to the playing area (or thong as it is called) competitors throw the welly over their head. Don’t release the boot too early though; otherwise you may get a nasty clout in the face!
Who holds the World Record?
The world record for the longest welly wang is not a Yorkshireman, but Teppo Luoma of Finland who wanged his well a whopping 63.98m (209.9 ft). The women’s world record holder is Sari Tirkkon also of Finalnd who chucked her welly 40.87m.