Top Gurn Tommy Mattinson held on to his world gurning title last night by pulling the funniest face on earth.
He beat eye-bulging hopefuls from as far afield as Australia and America in the hotly-contested world championships.
Now a 15-time global champ, the 47-year-old granddad-of-two has not been beaten since 2000 and as his legend grows so does the clamour to see him perform.
“I put on my best face and beat off stiff opposition from 23 others,” he grinned as he walked off the stage last night.
“It’s a brilliant feeling to be world champ for the 15th time. But it was tough because there were some cracking gurns from the USA and Australia. I’m proud to keep the title for Britain.
“It is definitely getting bigger, it’s getting really well known all over the world.
“I go on a lot of TV shows. I have gurned for the Queen, been to Japan and Rome, and I’m even in the Guinness Book Of World Records.
“It’s great for Egremont and Cumbria.”
Tommy’s dad Gordon was a 10-time world champion and Tommy took his first gong in his early teens. But now he faces stiffer competition than ever with a host of homegrown talent emerging and international competitors desperate to steal his crown.
When Tommy was last beaten he competed just days after having an operation for thyroid cancer but he admits it is now harder than ever to remain at the pinnacle of his sport.
He said: “I never expected to win. I always think that this year I won’t, but then I always think that.
“I never go out thinking, ‘I am the champion’ and it’s not the end of the world if I lose.
“I’ve had fun and I’ve done well out of it.”
Among the expectant crowd last night was Australian TV presenter Amberlay Lobo, 22, who was filming a series on the world’s most wacky sports for the ABC network.
After attempting the greasy pole climbing competition yesterday, she fancied her chances at putting her head through the horse collar as all competitive gurners have to do to try her luck on the gurning world stage.
She said: “We have been out on the road for seven weeks. We have done lots in England, Scotland and Asia.
“The most amazing thing so far was an air guitar competition but we’ve also been to onion eating and haggis eating competitions.
“This has been pretty good. Climbing up a pole in the middle of the street was weird and I’m entering the gurning too!”