The Tournament of Chumps in the 1950s was a lighter take on the heroics of the big ski jump

After the Champions, the Revelstoke Tournament of Chumps

1950s Revelstoke: Skiing and cross-dressing! Review description: ‘Fair-skinned, Bikini wrapped, flower bedecked, walloping wonder’

  • Oct. 29, 2012 9:00 a.m.

Contributed by the Revelstoke Museum & Archives

This is the third of an eight-part series of excerpts from First Tracks: A History of Skiing in Revelstoke, the latest book from the Revelstoke Museum & Archives.

From 1950 to the 1970s, Revelstoke played host to the Tournament of Champions, an international tournament that attracted some of the world’s best ski jumpers. Of course, the locals got to have fun too.

Several old-timers in Revelstoke still remember, with a chuckle, the Tournament of Chumps that followed the Tournament of Champions for a few years in the 1950s. The tournament was organized by a female committee and was held on the Hans Gunnarsen Hill. The women wore fancy hats and the male jumpers dressed in zany costumes; many dressed as women. On March 25, 1954, Revelstoke Review ski columnist Mary McCrae described the contestants’ attire:

Francie Nelson – loungie effect in two-piece winter wonderland pyjamas.

Bud Mulholland – reminiscent of the vivid, chile Brazilian tamale, chuck full of daring and do.

Jim McKay – streamlined in a swish of red – red-flowing cape, Superman like.

George Davis – fair skinned, Bikini wrapped, flower bedecked, walloping wonder.

Art Dabell – wide-eyed, tricky and bright as a button in harem trousers, draped dress and woolly socks…

Roy Crowle – fluffy and oh-so-cunning in long tresses and blue jeans.

Hans Hager – woman of the worldish and quite continental in mannish trousers and ‘little woman in the kitchen apron.’

Don Farrell – shy and demure in a pale green bias-cut creation and sweetly flowered hat.

Lloyd Bennison – appealing in smart, cosy flannelette pyjamas, unforgettable cold, cold large nose that kept a pair of bifocals nicely spaced on the nose bridge…

***

First Tracks, the History of Skiing in Revelstoke, is due out in early December. Pre-orders can be made at the Revelstoke Museum & Archives or by calling 250-837-3067. The book is $40 inc. HST if ordered before Dec. 1, and $45 inc. HST afterwards.

 

 

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