A spring Texas sunny day made more glorious by a cool breeze and partial cloud cover attracted record numbers of people to cheer and groan as contestants in the 39th Annual O. Henry Pun-Off World Championships performed verbal contortions on Saturday May 7th in Brush Square. Visit the official PunOff.com web site for contestant information and event rules.
In the Punniest of Show, 32 contestants compete to deliver their prepared “punny” material within a time limit of 90 seconds and impress a panel of judges who gore the performance on a scale from 1 to 10 . For the first time ever, there was a 3-way tie between the top puntestants all scoring a perfect 40 points! The final winning order was decided by audience popularity.
First Place – Jerzy Gwiazdowski
Second Place – Southpaw Jones
Third Place – Michael Kohl
In the PunSlingers contest each pair of 32 competitors is given a topic to use for punning, for example, "diseases." At the judge’s signal, the first punslinger has 5 seconds to deliver or begin delivering a pun. Next, the opponent is given 5 seconds to start a pun. This shoot-out guick wit continues until one of the contestants becomes “tongue-tied” without a pun or accumulates a total of three non-qualifying “strike” attempts at a pun. Elimination rounds continue in standard tournament style until the final round produces a top pun winner.
First Place – Benjamin Ziek
Second Place – Tim Donnelly
Third Place – Jerry Yan
Runner Up – Toby Miceli-Gwiazdowski
[Click on a picture to enlarge and see photo slideshow]