Presenting the...


The 1997 Darwin Award competition has announced its runners up and winners.

These awards are given each year to (the remains of) those who, through single-minded self sacrifice coupled with unmeasurable stupidity, have done the most to remove undesirable elements from the gene pool, thereby advancing the human race (or slowing down its' decline?- you decide!) The judges note that there was a great improvement in the areas of teamwork and cooperation among many of the candidates in 1997--it's no longer an individual sport!

Following are the 1997 runners-up and winners, each with an outline of their award winning achievements:

5th runner-up

A San Anselmo, California, man died when he hit a lift tower at the Mammoth Mountain ski area while riding down the slope on a foam pad. 22-year old David Hubal was pronounced dead at Centinela Mammoth Hospital. The accident occurred about 3 a.m., The Mono County Sheriff's Department said. Hubal and his friends apparently had hiked up a ski run called Stump Alley and undid some yellow foam protectors from lift towers, said Lt. Mike Donnelly of the Mammoth Lakes Police Department. The pads are used to protect skiers who might hit towers. The group apparently used the pads to slide down the ski slope and Hubal crashed into a tower. It has since been investigated and determined the tower he hit was the one with its pad removed.

4th Runner-up:

Robert Puelo, 32, was apparently being disorderly in a St. Louis market, when the clerk threatened to call the police. Puelo grabbed a hotdog, shoved it into his mouth, and walked out without paying. Police found him unconscious in front of the store-- paramedics removed the six-inch wiener from his throat where it had choked him to death.

3rd Runner-up:

Poacher Marino Malerba of Spain, shot a stag standing above him on an overhanging rock and was killed instantly when it fell on him.

2nd Runner-up:

A man at a West Virginia party (probably related to the man in Arkansas who used a 22 bullet to replace the fuse in his pick-up truck) popped a blasting cap into his mouth and bit down, triggering an explosion that blew off his lips, teeth, and tongue. Jerry Stromyer, 24, of Kincaid, bit the blasting cap as a prank during the party late Tuesday night, said Cpl. M.D. Payne. "Another man had it in an aquarium hooked to a battery and was trying to explode it, said Payne. "It wouldn't go off and this guy said I'll show you how to set it off. "He put it into his mouth and bit down. It blew all his teeth out and his lips and tongue off, Payne said. Stromyer was listed in guarded condition Wednesday with extensive facial injuries, according to a spokesperson at Charleston Area Medical Division. "I just can't imagine anyone doing something like that", Payne said.

1st Runner-up:

Doctors at Portland University Hospital said an Oregon man shot through the skull by a hunting arrow is lucky to be alive and will be released soon from the hospital. Tony Roberts, 25, lost his right eye last weekend during an initiation into a man's rafting club, Mountain Men Anonymous (probably now known as Stupid Mountain Men Anonymous) in Grants Pass, Oregon. A friend tried to shoot a beer can off his head, but the arrow entered Robert's right eye. Doctors said had the arrow gone 1 millimeter to the left, a major blood vessel would have been cut and Roberts would have died instantly. Neurosurgeon Doctor Johnny Delashaw at the University Hospital in Portland said the arrow went through 8 to 10 inches of brain with the tip protruding at the rear of his skull, yet somehow managed to miss all major blood vessels. Delashaw also said had Roberts tried to pull the arrow out on his own he surely would have killed himself.

Roberts admitted afterwards that he and his friends had been drinking that afternoon. (Well DUH!) Said Roberts, "I feel so dumb about this". No charges have been filed, but the Josephine County district attorney's office said the initiation stunt is under investigation.

And the winner is....

Last year's winner, you will remember, was the fellow who was killed when he attached a JATO (Jet Assisted Take Off) unit to his Chevy Impala and shot himself and his car off a desert cliff at 300 M.P.H. for this year's Darwin Award winners! (drumroll please...)

(The late) John Pernicky and his friend, (the late) Sal Hawkins, of the great state of Washington, decided to attend a local Metallica concert at the George Washington amphitheater. Having no tickets (but having had 18 beers between them), they thought it would be easy to "hop" over the nine-foot fence and sneak into the show.

After pulling their pick-up truck next to the fence, the plan was for (the late) Mr. Pernicky (who was 100 pounds heavier than Mr. Hawkins) to hop the fence and then assist his friend over. Unfortunately for (the late) Mr. Pernicky, there was a 30-foot drop on the other side of the fence. Having heaved himself over, he found himself crashing through a tree. His fall was abruptly halted (and broken, along with his arm, as it were) by a large branch that snagged him by his shorts. Dangling from the tree with a broken arm, he looked down and saw some bushes below him. (Possibly) figuring the bushes would break his fall, he removed his pocketknife and proceeded to cut away his shorts to free himself from the tree.

Finally free, Mr. Pernicky fell and crashed into the bushes, which turned out to be holly shrubs. The sharp leaves left deep scratches over his ENTIRE body, and without the protection of his shorts, a holly branch penetrated his rectal cavity. To make matters worse (?!), upon landing, his pocket knife penetrated 3-inches deep into his thigh.

(The late) Mr. Hawkins, on seeing his friend in considerable pain and distress, decided to throw him a rope and pull him to safety (NOW he thinks of the "S" word) by tying the rope to the pick-up truck and slowly driving away. However, in his drunken haste/state, he put the truck into reverse and crashed through the fence, falling 30 feet in the truck and landing on his friend and killing him.

Police arrived to find the crashed pick-up with its driver thrown 100-feet from the truck and dead at the scene from massive internal injuries. Upon moving the truck, they found John under it, half-naked with a broken arm, scratches on his body, a holly branch up his rectum, a knife in his thigh, and his shorts dangling from a tree branch 25-feet in the air.

Congratulations to all of our finalsist and winners! Think of your acomplishments as evolution in action!

A. Gerstlauer, April 7, 1999