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Australian Mullet Competition Saves Small Town From Financial Ruin

The story of how a competition for local mullet enthusiasts became a global phenomenon.

Keeping It Retro; Photo: Leanne Boutlon (Flickr.com)
Keeping It Retro; Photo: Leanne Boutlon (Flickr.com)

In 2018, the town of Kurri Kurri, New South Wales, Australia was hit with an economic crisis. The local aluminium smelter shut down, thus eliminating a supply of jobs for several generations across the town. In a desperate attempt to save their town from financial ruin, the townsfolk developed the idea for a mullet competition.

What began as a town-wide charity event and an attempt at a tourist attraction has since sparked into a global phenomenon with over 240 entries each year. Mullet enthusiast come from across the world to compete in one of the many event’s categories.

From children’s competitions to extreme to international, anyone of any age and any background is welcome to compete given they meet the one major requirement: they love their mullet.

The video below follows the stories of two returning competitors at Mullet-Fest 2020, Lynne Fry and Cougar Knight. Lynne is a previous winner of the ‘Extreme’ category and turned down the opportunity to judge the 2020 competition so that she could continue to compete. The other competitor featured in this video is Cougar, who previously won Second Place in the ‘Ranga’ category.

‘How Mullets Saved a Town’; Youtube: VICE

Both competitors share their experiences and what the competition means to them. Lynne, who is 59 years old, expresses how much this competition revives memories from her childhood having grown up in the 70s and 80s.

“Mullet-Fest makes me happy. It’s the one day a year that I have a smile on my face.”

Lynne Fry; ‘How Mullets Saved a Town’ (VICE, Youtube)

The competition fortunately occurred before the Coronavirus outbreak shut down large gatherings across the globe. hopefully, the Chelmsford Hotel will once again host the Mullet-Fest competition in 2021.

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