Mason County News
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The Idle American
Liars by Design...
Wednesday, July 27, 2011 • Posted July 27, 2011

Lying is not what it used to be, or maybe it’s so far ahead of the truth these days, the novelty of whopper-telling has worn off—right down to the nub.Still, any contest conducted in the bright light of the law for 82 consecutive years is worthy of examination.Officers of the Burlington, WI, Liars Club would have us believe they are “squeaky-clean” in the “truth department.” Since their tongues seem forever alternating between cheeks, however, we fear that on occasion(s), judges of the world’s best lies each New Year’s Eve may themselves be lying….* * * * *Back in 1929, when the Great Depression enveloped our land, folks scratched pretty deep for humor. Digging cost nothing, though, and many—caught up in the struggle for their next meals—latched onto laughter to keep from crying.Maybe that was the backdrop when a handful of men sat around a potbellied stove in the Burlington, WI, Police Station, lamenting an “unhappening” time of year—the days after Christmas. Included were the police chief, a lawyer and a reporter. Bogged down in the “blahs,” they opted to see who could concoct the biggest lie. You may think the lawyer or reporter might prevail. You would be wrong—the police chief was the champion with his stone-faced insistence that he had never once lied….* * * * *The contest made the local newspaper, and other publications picked it up. It grew with beanstalk rapidity, becoming an annual contest. Soon entries were sought from across the land. Charge was a dime each, and participants received bona fide membership cards in the club. Wow! Lies poured in.Entry fees have ballooned to a buck, and the scope is now world-wide. However, all winners have been from the USA. (Sorta like the “Miss Universe” winners—all of ‘em from earth.) And, while the championship award is somewhat rinky-dink—perhaps worthy of “honorable mention” as a second-grader’s craft project—it signifies fibbing excellence. Notoriety for the winner—and for Burlington, hometown of Dallas quarterback Tony Romo—is thunderous.….* * * * *Romo may be the last great hope for Texas’ liars to gain the recognition for the craft they’ve been honing since before statehood—several decades prior to the contest.Don’t tell me that judges’ bias doesn’t come into play. Wisconsin contestants have won more than a third of the time—30 of 82 years. Almost two decades flopped off calendars before a Texan won.Come on. Oklahomans’ answer to Texans’ claims that Oklahoma is an “outlying state of Texas” is that “no state can out-lie Texas.” Maybe this applies to Wisconsin as well….* * * * *One of a handful of Texans so honored, C. R. (Choc) Hutcheson of Lubbock took top honors 50 years ago. His “terminological inexactitude” described a guy who invented a duck call so authentic that it attracts wooden decoys.They promised to mail him the award if he’d promise to send it back to them prior to the following year’s contest.“I wrote a letter vowing to return it, but after the award came, I mailed a copy of the same letter, indicating that I had lied. Further, the letter served as my entry in the 1962 contest,” Hutcheson joked….* * * * *There have been some fabulous entries. (See for yourself online at or order Liars Club booklet at There’s also information if you have an extra dollar to enter the 2011 contest. Officers of the loose-knit organization promise that entry fees will never increase, but who’s gonna believe that?Some of the winners have been “doozies,” but three really stand out….* * * * *One was submitted by William C. Cook. He told of a year when Texas had little wind. He had three windmills on his ranch, and there was so little wind he had to take two of ‘em down to get enough wind to turn one. And if he hadn’t removed the barbed wire fence that was holding up the wind, the remaining windmill might have been idle, too.The 2008 winner fended off “bathroom humor” allegations, since granddaddies and their “grands” get passes. Gareth Seehawer of Oconto Falls, WI, boasted that his grandson was well on the way to becoming one of the world’s most, uh, persuasive adults. He claimed that by the time the youngster was two years old, when he soiled his diaper, he convinced his mother that someone else had done it.Last year’s winner, Wisconsonite David Milz, almost had a psychic girlfriend. “Alas,” he moaned, “She left me before we met!”…* * * * *

Dr. Newbury is a speaker in the Metroplex. Send inquiries/comments to: Phone: 817-447-3872. Web site:

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