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Paul Bird fell from his chair to the floor with a wail that resounded through the hall. Sobs racked his body as he buried his face in his hands and began his lament. It was an impressive show but not good enough to sway the judges since try as he did, Paul could not produce any real tears.
Down at the end of the line Thomas Henderson sat quietly, his elbows on his knees and his hands over his face. Sitting there soundless and with his straw hat pulled low, it looked as if he was simply resting. Suddenly, however, one of the judges whispered;
"I think he's really crying."
Allan Bird crawled over on his hands and knees and gently eased a finger into Henderson's eye. Withdrawing the finger he held it aloft for the crowd to see glistening there on the end - a real tear.
That single tear won Henderson five dollars; first prize in the Crying Contest that was one of the many zany competitions the Montreal take Reserve's sports and recreation department dreamt up for the band's annual Sports Day held Aug. 10.
It was an inspiration that was well rewarded in terms of people participation as hundreds of Montreal Lake and district children and adults packed the band's Recreation Hall to witness the antics inherent in such contests as the Laughing Contest, Crying Contest, Liar's Contest and Kissing Contest.
Actually the Crying Contest was something of a misnomer, since very few people did any crying. The Contest instead produced the biggest laughing session of the entire afternoon.
In the children's section of the competition, it looked at first as though there wouldn't be any, winners. Surrounded as they were by wildly laughing people, the four contestants couldn't seem to do anything but laugh themselves.
It finally dawned on two little girls however, that the crowd was laughing at them and then the smiles dissolved from their faces and the tears began in earnest. The crowd roared and the judges rushed in to cheer up Annie and Virginia Bird with their prize money.
The Laughing Contest was a great deal easier on the contestants since laughter dominated the hall and managed to infect everyone that afternoon. Indeed it would have been an interesting experiment to
'and Thats The Truth
For some reason there were more Liars than Lovers in the crowd that day and although the Liars Contest attracted seven contestants only three couples turned out for the Kissing Contest. Frank Roberts proved himself the most outrageous liar of the day but he was followed closely by Leonard Bird and Cecil Bird. The team of Roy Bird and Joyce Naytowhow proved themselves the most persistent kissers, maintaining their clinch for over 17 minutes.
The Kubasha Contest, involving the art of downing heavily garliced Ukranian sausage in the quickest of possible times, was another highlight of the sports day as contestants chomped and gagged their way through an eight-inch hunk of the meat.
Also included on the program were Fiddling and Jigging competitions and a Flour Packing Contest for both men and women.
Victor Ross fiddled his way to first place in the Fiddling Contest and he was followed by Paul Bird and Stephan Ross.
The Jigging Contest attracted the largest field of contestants and they ranged in age from 14 years old to the oldest lady on the Montreal Lake Reserve, Mrs. Mary Jane Bird, who is in her 80's. When the dust kicked up by all those feet had finally settled, the judges named Malinda Charles the winner and Leonard Bird and Absolom Halkett from the Little Red River Reserve to second and third place.
Although there were no prizes for tying knots in rope, there should have been. Allen Bird and Leonard Bird could have taught, tricks to sailors in that category. Taking a leather belt the two knotted it up with nylon rope and made a cradle for the Flour Packing Contest. Johnny Charles, a 27-year-old carpenter from Stanley Mission took the belt, slipped it over his forehead and proceeded to heft 750 pounds of flour onto his back. During his trek around the course neither Johnny nor the knots slipped. Johnny got to keep the flour and after the contest, Cecil Bird got his belt back though it was a rather longer belt than it had been.
Edward Henderson came second in the Flour Packing Contest with a carry of 450 pounds.
In the ladies section of the Flour Packing Contest, first prize had to split between Mary Bird and Nellie Bird, who each managed to carry 350 pounds of flour around the course. Both ladies are mothers with five children.
As far out as some of the contests were, Roy Bird, who is Montreal Lake's Sports and Recreation Director, says the contests generated such enthusiasm and were so well accepted by the people that they will probably become a regular part of the band's annual sports day program.
A Winning Effort
Teh, Heh, Heh, Heh