A highlight of Purdue University’s recent Spring Fest’s Bug Bowl, held April 14-15, was the annual cricket-spitting contest.
The brainchild of former Purdue entomologist Tom Turpin, the contest awards those who spit crickets the farthest distance.
As Stephen Cameron, head of Purdue’s entomology department, told the Purdue Exponent,” the rules of the game are simple: Step on up, plop a frozen cricket into your mouth and spit it as far into Turpin Field as one puff from your cheeks will allow.”
As the Exponent noted, while the field extends about 50 feet, most people only manage to shoot their crickets between 10 and 20 feet. The record spit this year was a whopping 33 feet.
Over the years, cricket-spitting has evolved from a delightfully quirky competition for all ages into an amusing way for the entomology department to get more people interested and involved with insects.
“It just raises awareness for the department and awareness for insects. It contributes to a perception that insects aren’t always bad,” Cameron said. “It helps build an appreciation for insects — it’s a part of nature, not something to be feared or hated.”
Cameron also told the Exponent that the sport also helps people overcome phobias of touching insects by exposing them to bugs early on.
Source: Purdue Exponent