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Mullet Fest Is Australia's Newest and Most Australian Competition

Welcome to Kurri Kurri: the small town with the big comp.

by Julian Morgans
20 February 2018, 1:55am

In the Hunter Valley, about 45 minutes from Newcastle, is a place that no one has ever heard of or even noticed until extremely recently. It’s a little place called Kurri Kurri, which is home to the Chelmsford Hotel, which is running a competition called Mullet Fest. And this competition has set the town “abuzz.”

“Abuzz” is how event organiser and local hairdresser Laura Johnson describes it. “I’ve never seen Kurri like this,” she explains over the phone. “Even all the people in my yoga class are coming and they’re not exactly the kind of people who care about mullets.”

A photo of Laura and her mulleted husband JJ on their wedding day. JJ is definitely entering

On Saturday the Chelmsford Hotel will host 154 mulleted men and women for their inaugural mullet comp. They’ve now closed entries, due to very hectic over-demand, and Laura thinks 154 is “more than enough.”

“Points will be awarded to contestants based on presentation, mullet backstory, and personality as displayed on the catwalk,” says Laura. “Story is particularly important, because it takes many years to precure the perfect party out back.”

Categories include Junior Mullet, Ladies' Mullet, Ranger Mullet, Everyday Mullet, and Grubby Mullet, which basically describes the kind of guy who shaves everything at a buck’s party, except the back. That’s a Grubby Mullet. Then the overall winner will be crowned "BEST mullet of them ALL."

Laura goes on to explain that three judges will deliver the final ruling, including a local bloke who claims to have invented the mullet—Dan “The Mullet Lord” Brown. “He’s got such a glorious mullet,” gushes Laura. “And then there’s our local MP Meryl Swanson and another guy named Brett. And that’s it. They’re our judges.”

Laura with a few more contestants: Kevin, JJ, Laura, Sam, and Dan

The competition came to be because—according to local legend—Kurri Kurri is the original home of the mullet. “Lots of the old guys say the mullet was invented here,” boasts Laura. “So that’s how we came up with the idea. My friend Sarah and I were talking about how we could save the town [it’s been facing economic headwinds since the closure of their aluminium smelter six years ago] and Sarah said we should have a competition called Mullet Fest and I agreed and now I just can’t believe the response.”

Laura has now given 17 radio interviews in the last week, with exposure across the US, Canada, and New Zealand. She’s also appeared on the Today Show, with Karl Stefanovic describing the event as “real Australiana.” Because as Laura says with confusion/pride: “people just love mullets.”

Oh, and if you were wondering, first prize will receive a date with Billy Ray Cyrus. “Well, that’s something I’m organising at the moment,” says Laura. “But I’m pretty sure he’s onboard.”

Julian is on Twitter/IG

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