Peters Hollow ready to celebrate 194th Annual Egg Fight
ELIZABETHTON — Europe had the Hundred Years War, but rivals have been fighting for nearly two centuries in Carter County and there is no end in sight for the annual battle held every Easter in Peters Hollow.
Legend has it that it all began back in 1823, when a dispute began between the farmers of Peters Hollow and the farmers of Rome Hollow on which hens laid the hardest eggs. In the scientific spirit of the time, the farmers decided to prove their argument by tapping hard-boiled eggs together until one cracked.
This year’s egg fight will get underway in the back yard of Norman Peters, 347 Peters Hollow Road. The fight has migrated up and down the hollow for the past 194 years, since it first was fought at Pinhook.
It has been fought in Norman’s back yard since his mother, Bets, died in 2001. She lived next door to Norman, and the egg fight was held in her front yard for several years.
Prior to that, the fight was held for nearly 50 years just down the road at the home of Ray and Lottie Lowe. That is where some the fight’s greatest stories took place, including Lowe’s little red hen that laid very hard eggs until the hen accidentally hanged herself in the fork of a tree. It was also the site of the famous “blue blocker” egg that defeated 800 other eggs to come out victorious.
Norman said there will be four separate fights this year. Things will get started at 1:30 p.m., with children from newborns to 3 years old. They will be equipped with one dozen eggs.
The second fight is for children between four and seven. They will also fight with one dozen eggs.
The third contest is for children ages 8 to 12. They will carry two dozen eggs into combat.
After the children’s contests are completed, the adults, from 13 on up, will begin. Adults get to fight with 6 dozen eggs.
The fighting takes place in a circle, with competitors sitting in lawn chairs and tapping the ends of their neighbor’s eggs. It is done under the watchful eyes of referees, who determine whether an end of an egg has cracked. The referees also make sure only chicken eggs are entered, no guinea hens or other tough shells.
Once all the eggs of a contestant are cracked on both ends, the contestant withdraws and the circle gets smaller and the competition heats up. It finally reaches a climax when only two competitors are left. A cheer always goes up when the last egg is cracked and a new champion is crowned, to join the ranks of nearly two centuries of previous champions.