If you’re a charming individual without a propensity to achieve well in sport and are looking for something to excel in, then perhaps worm charming is the sport (yes that’s right, I said sport) for you. A task usually performed to collect bait for fishing, worm charming is a complex process, which involves many varied techniques and is constantly advancing and revealing new facts about worms and methods in which to bring them to the surface.
Worm Charming Competitions
Believe it or not, the World Charming Championships is actually a very serious and fierce competition which brings people from all countries and of all ages to prove who can cause the most worms to wriggle their way from their underground homes out into the open to be counted towards a competitor’s score. One of the first ever worm
charming contests took place in Willaston County Primary School’s fête in 1980. From then on, Willaston became the host of the annual World Worm Charming Championships. There are also a number of other competitions and contests such as the Blackawton International Festival of Worm Charming in Devon, The Great Canadian Worm Charming Championship held in Ontario and Florida’s Worm Gruntin’ Festival.
The most impressive display of allure was demonstrated by a ten year old girl in 2009 at the World Championships. Sophie Smith left other competitors out to dry with her accomplishment of enticing a massive 567 worms towards her grasp.
It is believed that worms are driven from the ground by consistent vibrations, as this emulates the sound and feeling of a digging mole, their natural predator, encroaching on their territory. Thus the most common technique is to plunge a pitch fork, log or cricket stump into the ground and either spin it in your hand as if making a fire or bang it with another item such as a bat. Competitors have also been seen getting creative with their methods by playing a xylophone with bottles or even dancing on top a plank to the Star Wars them song.
Contestants must find themselves a square grass patch of 3 x 3 metres and after a 5 minute ‘worm up’, they then have 15 minutes to charm the most amount of worms from their square as they can. Each team consists of three members -the charmer, picker and counter. The main guidelines are that digging and forking the ground are strictly forbidden and all worms must be placed back in the ground following the competition. International Judges are also always on the lookout for cheaters who may attempt to add in worms which they brought in their pockets or cutting worms in half to increase their score.