To say that you’ve set a world’s record is a pretty impressive feat – no matter what the accomplishment. And certainly, we all know that Virginians have a lot to be proud of. We have scores of accomplishments that have put us in the history books. But there’s more to us than that! We are also in the record books for some pretty weird and wacky things.
Here are 10 of the more unusual records that have been set in Virginia.
World’s Largest Snakehead Fish
Caleb Newton from Spotsylvania County caught the world’s largest snakehead fish on June 1, 2013. The fish, a nasty creature able to breathe air and live in shallow waters, weighed in at 17 pounds, 6 ounces and measured over 3 feet long. Newton beat the record held in Japan by 2 ounces.
Most High Fives in One Hour
University of Virginia’s Dean of Students, Allen Grove, gathered with more than 3,000 students on September 4, 2013. By the end of the hour, he had high-fived 2,470 people, beating the previous record of 1,739. He used only one hand – and lots of hand sanitizer.
Most Hugs Given in One Minute by a School Mascot
Not to be outdone by University of Virginia, Virginia Tech’s Hokie Bird set the Guinness World Record for most hugs given in one minute on February 26, 2015 by hugging 85 people. The previous record was 75.
Record Corn Crop
While Virginia isn’t the first place that most people think of when it comes to growing corn, a farmer from Richmond beat the 12-year old record held in Iowa by producing an average of 454 bushels of corn per acre. The most impressive thing about this record is that farmer David Hula produced his record-winning crop organically.
The Human Lightning Rod
Roy Sullivan (February 7, 1912 – September 28, 1983), a park ranger in the Shenandoah National Park, survived 7 separate lightning strikes between 1942 and 1977. Sullivan holds the record for surviving more lightning strikes than anyone in history and is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Largest Vampire Gathering
Ok, so they weren’t actually vampires, but on September 30, 2011, more than 1,000 people gathered at King’s Dominion Theme Park in Doswell to set the Guiness World Record for the largest gathering of people dressed as vampires. The event kicked of the park’s Halloween festivities and officially recorded 1, 039 participants.
Largest Mandolin Ensemble
When 389 mandolin players gathered to play at the Old Fiddler’s Convention in Galax, they set the record for the world’s largest mandolin ensemble. The ensemble played four classic songs, "Old Joe Clark," "Cripple Creek," "Angeline the Baker" and "Soldier's Joy", as they picked their way to a new world record.
Longest Gum Wrapper Chain
Most people have hobbies, but few people have a world record to show for it. Gary Duschl of Virginia Beach, has been working on his gum wrapper chain since March 1965. The record-setting chain has reached 83,265 feet in length and uses more than 2,000,000 wrappers. That’s over $140,000 in gum. Duschl’s chain is featured in the Guinness Book of World Records, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and Weird Virginia.
Most Cartwheels Performed Simultaneously
Excalibur Gymnastics of Virginia Beach organized this event on February 18, 2013 as part of an international gymnastics competition. 1,086 people showed up to turn a cartwheel in unison along the Virginia Beach beachfront. They successfully beat the record of 482 people previously held in the Netherlands.
Oldest Competitive Wakeboarder
Crystal Stallard / flickr
On July 25, 2009, Linda Brown set the world record at Smith Mountain Lake as the oldest competitive wakeboarder. Brown was 63 years and 227 days old when she set the record – and placed an impressive 5th place in the competition. Brown started the record quest as a joke when her grandkids encouraged her to compete, but now plans to outdo her own record when she turns 70.
I guess this just goes to show you that Virginians are always looking for a way to be the best – at just about everything! And while we don’t recommend getting struck by lightning 8 times in order to beat Roy Sullivan’s record, we would love to hear about records that you know of set by Virginians. Crazy, serious or athletic, we love to know about every accomplishment achieved here in our home state.