Traditional folk music, dance and customs - Harrogate, North Yorkshire - Chas Marshall's Website

RCMD : The Best Decorated Hat Competition

Ripon City Morris Dancers were formed in February 1982 and have taken part in Ripon's annual St. Wilfrid's procession on every occasion since, with just one exception*. During the evening social, it has become the custom for the participants in the procession, both dancers and musicians, to vote for the best decorated hat. Voting is on the basis of one person - one vote, with the winner being decided by a simple majority. A "gentlemen's agreement" forbids anyone to vote for themselves. This arrangement has, rather remarkably, only produced two tied results up to the year 2002! In 2003, when 3 entries tied for first place, the votes were recast with only the three joint first places as candidates.

The winner's prize in 1982 was a bottle of wine. As far as can be remembered, Paul Freeman subsequently introduced the more appropriate commemorative shield - the "valuable trophy" as he christened it.

 

For those who may be interested, here is a list of the winners to date:

1982
Tony Butcher and Chas Marshall (tied)
1983
Jon Rawlings
1984
John Downes
1985
Peter Gaddass
1986
Ted Dodsworth
1987
Keith Worden
1988
Chas Marshall
1989
Paul Freeman
1990
Martin Ord
1991
David Greaves
1992
Bob Sibley
1993
Ted Dodsworth
1994
Geoff Hyde
1995
Ted Dodsworth
1996
Geoff Hyde
1997
Kevin Brown and Keith Worden (tied)
1998
Julian Sharpe
1999
Chas Marshall
2000*
Bob Sibley
2001
Heather Hazell
2002
David Thew
2003
Mike Poole
2004
No team available for the procession this year
2005
Dave Blight
2006
Rob Thew
2007
Rob Thew

* In 2000 the team decided to accept an invitation to appear at Sidmouth International Folk Festival and this meant missing the St Wilfrid's Procession that year. The best decorated hat was judged at the first Sidmouth Arena performance.