..Barry Napier..

The Bone-Breaker!

Want to sprain your ankles, cut yourself to ribbons and break a few bones? Then get to Cooper's Hill in Gloucestershire, UK, on May 29th this year!

No need to fill out an application form - just be fool enough to stand at the top of this fantastically steep hill and start running. If you reach the bottom in one piece, you might just win.

Win what? The ornately named "Cooper's Hill Cheese Rolling & Wake" competition. This quirky British pastime has been held annually for hundreds of years, and goes back to pre-Roman days, so you'll be part of history (or just "history" if you fall badly enough).

At a given shout, each contestant rolls a 7lb round of Double Gloucester cheese down the hill. Then he or she (she's have their own race) runs after it, trying to catch it by the time it reaches the bottom. That's if it doesn't veer off and hit someone in the crowd first.

What's the point? None at all! It's just what British folk do on a summer's day. The winner of the women's race in 2005 was a New Zealander. USA "ironwoman," Faith Stefaniak (see how it rhymes with "maniac"?) came third...so even Americans can get in there somewhere.

And guess what - if you win, you get to keep the cheese. The race is as hair-raising as it sounds, so don't plan on going skiing soon afterwards...your legs might still be surgically encased. This really is Gloucestershire's very own extreme sport! Another pointless but no-bones-broken sport is wellie-wanging, but that's another story.

If you are fool enough to try cheese-rolling, get on the A46 road from Cheltenham to Stroud, and find the village of Brockworth. The crowds will make it easy to find. Then struggle to the top of the hill for your reckless streak downhill.

Want more information? Then go to www.cheese-rolling.co.uk and you'll see that the British really are mad as hatters. Or try info@cheese-rolling.co.uk.

Enjoy!! Or maybe not.

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Photos courtesy of www.cheese-rolling.co.uk.