The search for the “Schlappen king”
On the Sunday before Schlappentag people who are in public life, tradespeople and members of rifle clubs have to demonstrate their shooting skills. This “Schlappenschießen” goes back to the rules set out for the original shooting practice of Hof’s tradesmen and takes place at the authentic site, as it has done for centuries, at the shooting range next to the clubhouse. The competitors assemble there on the morning of Trinity Sunday.
In the old days, the winner was exempted from paying taxes by the municipal authorities. Even today the town of Hof is generous and the three best marksmen are rewarded with a privilege which cannot be purchased: they are allowed to use the public car-parks for a year or half a year free of charge.
The champion, the “Schlappenkönig”, gets a silver chain placed around his neck containing the emblems of the local guilds and of the ten rifle clubs in Hof. The "Schlappenkönig" is not only honoured for his excellent marksmanship but, more importantly, he represents the continuation of an age-old historic tradition.
The "Schlappenkönige" of the past years where:
The participants are public figures, craftsmen and gunmen. According to tradition, they are publicly invited to participate before the Schlappentag. In case an invited participant should not want to compete, a “fine” is imposed. Respecting the tradition of the shooting competition, an invited candidate can “buy” a gunman who remains anonymous.
In order to provide equal opportunity for all the more or less talented participants, they shoot with old Zimmerstutzen (traditional weapon), sitting, with the weapon resting on a support, and every gunman has three shots to hit the bull’s-eye. Despite the competition zeal, conviviality is not neglected – many interesting conversations come up while having a beer and listening to music.
Schlappenkönig 2017: Thomas Brecht
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