Although Carl Christensen made a valiant attempt in 1999, and won the prize for best fancy dressed Bognor Birdman, but his magic flying carpet stalled so he did not fly too far – something like 5 metres, so he was some way short of the record distance. The current unbroken record which stands at a staggering 89.2 metres, was set in 1992 by a local lad, Dave Bradshaw.
Bognor Birdman 2010 could be the biggest ever, and lets hope the local Arun District council do not try and wiggle out of staging the event, as they did in 2008 and 2009, handing the event to Worthing, citing ludicrous PC elf and safety excuses. As the popularity of the event has spread, more people want to come and watch and see who will be the crowned best International Birdman 2010. Of course, everyone who takes part will have fun, and as the cliché goes, everyone will be a winner atthe 2010 event. The day will as always be popular for the spectators, the competitors, their friends and families. Maybe if the council get their act together they could stage a successful Birdman 2011, but don’t hold your breath. They seem to forget Bognor is more famous for its Birdman competition than it is for anything else, including the local Butlins.
The event has now got so popular, it has gone international, with competitors from many different countries eager to take part and entertain the crowds which often number up to 25,000. Most of the International Birdmen will be jumping trying to raise money for charity. Every year feathers fly as birdmen from around the world compete for the title of International Birdman. There have been all sorts of
International Birdman entries over the years including a flying tardis from Dr Who, a skateboarding cow and even a chicken and mushroom pie. Historical note – the first Birdman competitors were not international – as competitors such as Mary Poppins, Peter Pan and a naked man called John were all British, but now International Bognor Birdmen come from throughout the world.
If you are considering being a competitor, please bear in mind it isn’t really a competition in the normal sense of the word. Sure there will be a winner, so it is a competition, but very few of the people who take part are truly competitive when it comes to wanting to win the event. Most people taking part in the Bognor Birdman competition are well meaning folks, trying to do their bit for charirty, and have no intention of winning the competition. They are doing it primarily for fun. That is not to say that people taking part are not competitive, it’s more that they are fun loving nutters.
Although the event is now very popular, the fun is in watching all sorts of people who come to Bognor for the event. The competitors are a right mix, and there is generally a Batman or a Superman there each year. Amongst the many foolhardy folks there, you may find a green magic dragon whose wings misfunction, a fun loving chap with a flying carpet that stalls, a nutter who is the spitting image of Dracula, whose cape mysteriously fails to open, a crazy American with a beak and a three inch propellor on his head, or maybe an alien from the planet Zarg whose alien antennas do not give him the lift he expected.
One or two souls are semi-serious and take part in hang glider-esque contraptions. One man, Ron Freeman does such a thing year after year, and each year his aircraft, as he lovingly refers to his battered old hang glider, needs serious repair work. Good for Ron though to take part – most serious hang gliders won’t put their gliders anywhere near the competition for fear of personal ridicule and damage to their flying machine. Look around this Bognor Birdman site and you will get a feel for the kind of nutters who have been Bognor Birdmen in the past. These are just a few
Bognor Birdman pictures. As you can see some Bognor Birdmen are nutters, some are serious, but it’s a fun day out for all who take part, and their friends.
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