It was a warm Friday evening in late Summer 2004 in the
Rock House Inn when Elvis Afanasenko and Phil Ferris got to arguing
about who was the best at calling stags in the rutting
season. The guttural noises drowned out any other
conversations as the two went at it. Another local, Steve
Wiggins, suggested that they settle the matter by having a
competition in October and see who could attract the most
stags. While they were at it, Steve said, why didn't they
raise some money for charity? And so the Bolving Competition
was born. That first year Richard Kingdom ran himself ragged
organising the event and they raised a very respectable £435
for the Devon Air Ambulance. Oh, and Elvis won the
2004: Elvis, Richard Kingdom, Phil Ferris and
Phil, unfortunately, died in December of that year. It
was totally unexpected and the crew decided to honour him by
holding another event the following year, the prize being
the Phil Ferris Memorial Trophy. Richard again did the
massive organising job, ably supported by his father Chinner,
Steve, Elvis, Gerald Dale, Dave Riddler and Merek Winiarski.
Over a hundred people turned up at Draydon Rails to watch
the event and the trophy was won by Bryony Oliver. £660 was
raised for charity. 2006, and around 250 spectators turned up. The winner was Steve Coats
and the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children benefited to the
tune of £1,276.
Johnny Kingdom and Elvis with the Phil Ferris
Memorial Trophy in 2007
Five years ago the event was won in style by Elvis Afanasenko.
Witnessed by 200 plus spectators and Johnny Kingdom and his film
crew, Elvis started the crisp autumnal evening with three
gut-busting roars that none of the other competitors could touch
(although Paul Biere came a very creditable second). There was a
stag and a couple of dozen hinds down in the darkening fields
below and he answered Elvis back straight away with a
challenging bellow. The evening continued with a variety of
different techniques and sounds, but none could match Elvis' for
The number of contestants was down slightly
on the year before, put down to general camera-shyness but over £1,790
was raised for The Devon Air Ambulance and the event was
featured in Johnny's last TV series!
The last two year's event raised over a thousand
pounds a time.
This year we're hoping for bigger and better things.
The list of organisers is the same and the event is again being held at Draydon Rails, just outside
Dulverton, starting at 6 pm this year.
A big thank you to publicans Di and Dave for
agreeing to host the reception after the event at
The Rock House Inn, where the raffle will be drawn and
the "Horn Blowing" competition will be held.