STOP sniggering, roll up your sleeves and get practising those underarm throws.
The third annual Dorset Knob-throwing competition is being held in Cattistock on May 2 – and I’ve got my eyes on the ladies’ prize.
Records for throwing a Dorset Knob in 2008 stand at 18.8 metres for ladies, 22.6 metres for gents and 16.3 metres for kids.
I hear foreigners asking: what’s a Dorset Knob, then? Well, it’s described variously by the Telegraph as “the most obscure edible object produced in Britain today” and local traders as “Dorset’s most famous export”.
In short, the Knob is a smallish, hard, round doughy bun, named after the Dorset Knob button which it is said to closely resemble.
Nobody really knows how to eat it or what to do with it, although Thomas Hardy’s parlourmaid once described how the author enjoyed rounding off a meal with Dorset Knobs and Stilton cheese.
The Knobs are made by Moores Biscuits in Morcombelake, near Bridport. Only 2 million are hand-baked a year – you won’t find them in supermarkets, only random corner shops round Dorset.
In a bizarre show of fondness for this oddest of delicacies, county folk gather every year to see who can hurl it the furthest.
Beloved by county foodies, it’s already the highlight of the Frome Valley Food Fest and feted by the likes of Beaminster’s own MasterChef winner, Mat Follas, on his Wild Garlic blog.
It’s taken extremely seriously by competitors. There is an official rule book and around 1,500 people showed up to watch last year’s contest.
This May, the festivities are set to run from 10am until 4pm. According to the flyer, besides Knob Throwing there will be “additional fun knob attractions including Knob Painting, a Knob & Spoon Race, Guess the weight of the Big Knob, Knob Darts and a Knob Pyramid”.
You can taste and buy a fine range of foods including breads, cheeses, ciders, game and poultry, pies, preserves, and puddings, as well as chocolate, coffee and wine supplied by local firms.
Profits will go towards supporting Cattistock’s cricket and football clubs, the playing fields and the Savill Hall.
I love Dorset Knobs, if only because they sound a little bit naughty. And just imagine if somebody started up a campaign for Knob-throwing to be taken up as an Olympic sport. Now what a legacy for Dorset that would be!