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25 January 2011
SIOUX FALLS, South Dakota -- In this season chocked full of major sporting events, one event has been overlooked for years, yet continues to grow in its mass appeal. The United Hair Racing League, or UHRL, has hosted their annual “Hair Off” on the last Saturday in January for the past eleven years. Since the UHRL unveiled their league championship event in 2000, it has seen it's share of struggles over the years. Yet, at a time when most sports fans have their eyes on major sporting events like the Super Bowl and the NCAA National Championship, the UHRL has somehow managed to steal a few fans away and is seeing a steady increase in popularity.
For the first time ever, the Hair Off will be televised on Sioux Falls public access television channel 4. President of the UHRL, Tony LaMotte, said, “We are genuinely excited by all the recent interest in Hair Racing. Hair Racing tends to be a niche sport. You either like it or you don’t. While it is unlikely that we may someday compete with the likes of the Super Bowl, it’s not unrealistic to think that one day our sport may rest on the same level as the World Series of Poker or Bass Fishing.”
So what exactly is Hair Racing? The official UHRL website describes it as follows; “Hair Racing is a unique and exciting event that people from all ages and walks of life can compete in. Competitors battle to see who can grow the most hair in a 4 hour match. The matches are broken into 4 quarters, of 1 hour each. The competitor’s hair is measured before and after each quarter. One point is scored for each millimeter gained.” That’s right; the Hair Off is simply watching hair grow in a competitive atmosphere.
So why would people want to watch this? UHRL super fan Jeff Basin had an answer. “The Hair Off isn’t the most exciting event I’ve ever seen, but hey, we live in South Dakota. What else are we gonna do? Watch paint dry?”
LaMotte stated that this year’s competition stands to be one of the best in the sports 11 year history. The reigning champion, Gustavo “Razor” Revant, who is the current UHRL record holder with an astonishing 3 millimeters of growth in one quarter, battles it out against promising newcomer, Jeffrey Shoemaker of Oak Park Illinois. Shoemaker was nearly defeated in the semi – finals, but managed an amazing comeback in the fourth quarter by growing 1 5/8 millimeters in the final 60 minutes to defeat his challenger, 3 - 2 7/8.
“Hair Racing is really starting to come into its own” said LaMotte. “I don’t think that the founders Bert Ellenstein and Gary Ricker envisioned the sport they created by getting high and checking to see if they were turning into Sasquatches would ever reach this level of popularity.”
The 11th annual Hair Off will be held at the Cliff Ave. Econo-Lodge in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on January 29th, 2011.
|This article features first-hand journalism by an UnNews correspondent.|