Tuesday 27 September 2016

NYC hosts banjo-throwing contest

Published 20/04/2015 | 08:45

Event founder Eli Smith tosses a banjo during the Brooklyn Folk Festival's Gowanus Banjo Toss (AP)
Event founder Eli Smith tosses a banjo during the Brooklyn Folk Festival's Gowanus Banjo Toss (AP)

Several dozen competitors from around the world have taken turns hurling a banjo into a canal in New York City to see who could throw it the furthest.

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Tyler Frank, from St Louis, bested all other male competitors at the Brooklyn event with a throw of 85 feet (25 metres).

Nada Zimmerman, from Innsbruck in Austria, tossed the banjo 67 feet into Gowanus Canal on the women's side of the event.

The winners were given a new banjo by the event's sponsor, the Brooklyn Folk Festival.

A long rope with pre-measured segments is tied around the banjo's neck so judge Geoff Wiley can retrieve it from the canal.

He then measures the distance of each competitor's toss to determine the winners. Mr Wiley repairs the instrument after each year's competition.

Event founder, banjo player and radio host Eli Smith created the event in 2010, although the first competition was not held until the next year.

"The whole concept is absurd, but people have become enthusiastic about it," he said. "I love the banjo, and yet I have a perverse desire to see it thrown into a body of water."

Once a major transportation route for the then-separate cities of Brooklyn and New York, the Gowanus Canal was home to coal yards, chemical factories and fuel refineries that left behind one of the nation's most contaminated waterways.

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