The organisers of the annual World Pie Eating Championship enjoyed a tongue-in-cheek pre-publicity coup.
With typical showmanship, pie-master extraordinaire Tony Callaghan blamed the appearance of Star Wars stormtroopers at the Harry’s Bar bash on a committee member mishearing a demand for better security.
“We became aware of some umpire intimidation and sledging in recent weeks - including nicking crisps, crushing pork scratchings, pint-nudging and nailing of brick-effect laminate wall board across one official’s front door,” said Mr Callaghan.
“That gave us no option but to bring in extra security for the officials this year.
“However, the Championship Organising Committee (COC) member responsible for security misheard the resolution.
“Dave Smyth-Williams, 1992 winner, being a touch hard of hearing when the resolution was made that ‘this year the umpires will strike back as a key theme of restoring respect for officials at the event’, it was misheard as ‘the Empire Strikes Back is the them of the event’, and he unilaterally arranged for Star Wars Stormtroopers to escort the umpires and Vince Brown of Bowen’s Pies, into the arena in Harry’s Bar.
“He claimed that decades of painting and decorating had taken its toll on his hearing and simply misheard the resolution. Pies, supplied by Bowen Pies of Adlington, Chorley, measured 12cm in diameter with a depth of 3.5cm.
Last year’s winner Martin Appleton-Clare retained his title, smashing last year’s best time of 45.5 seconds by demolishing this year’s meat ‘n tatty in a belly-busting 32 seconds.
The winner of the women’s race was Vicky Lindley.