GLOUCESTER (CBS) – Everyone got a chance to take on the greasy pole in Gloucester Friday night, one step at a time. The young man who reached the flag, Derek Hopkins, ended up following in his father’s footsteps.
As some went down gracefully, others hit the pole like it hurt. After all, they had to give the crowd what it wants.
“I just love watching them wipe out honestly,” Brandy Lilly laughed. Lilly has been coming to the Sicily-inspired contest since before her now 17-year-old son was born.
One man called on Mr. Miyagi to guide him, dressed up as The Karate Kid, even he couldn’t reach the flag. Another really wouldn’t give up without a fight, actually attempting to get back up after losing his balance.
All to to honor the tradition so many grow up dreaming about.
“You can just say yeah I jumped off the greasy pole and I want to do it when I’m older and I can do it,” 12-year-old Andreas Pontedealon said.
“You’re forever instilled in the Greasy Pole Hall of Fame,” Steve Monteiro added.
Almost an hour and a half in, Derek Hopkins snatched the flag with ease. Gloucester would have its champion.
“I grew up walking the backyard pole. And I’ve just been waiting for this day it’s crazy that it’s here. I can’t believe I took it,” Hopkins said.
Paraded through town, Hopkins who swears he’s Sicilian despite the last name, was crowned the King of Summer.
His dad, Rich, stood proudly as his son chanted the words of the Saint Peter Fiesta, for he too is a greasy pole champion, remembering his victories in 1996 and 1997.
“It’s just really nice to see him carry on the tradition for the family,” Rich Hopkins said.
For Derek, the adrenaline rush won’t be wearing off any time soon. He is greasy pole champion of the weekend.
“Anything can happen up there. There was a bunch of guys that came super close, I give credit to all of them,” he said.
Now the competition goes through Sunday. On Sunday, all the champions of the past will face off.
The Winner, gets the bragging rights of a lifetime.