Dunn, N.C. — In the days after organizers for the National Hollerin' Contest announced that the 47-year event had run its course, two of the top competitors asked for a recount.
"I was thrown backward by the news," said Robbie Goodman, winner of the hollerin' junior championship in 1978.
The contest, held annually in Spivey's Corner, was born of simplicity, a competition among locals carrying on a communication tradition that pre-dated telephones.
Over the years, the community changed. Its single stoplight now boasts green and amber options, but the main attraction remained the annual Hollerin' Contest.
Iris Turner, a 1977 winner, remembered it as a unique sound of the old South.
"These are things that you can't get back," she said. "They're like little hidden treasures, these hollers, and every holler was so distinct."
The Spivey’s Corner Volunteer Fire Department, which runs the contest, has made changes to the event over the last four decades to keep up with modern times and make hollerin’ more appealing to younger generations, with limited success. They didn't want the contest to become a subject of ridicule, so they chose to shut it down.
Organizers said that although the contest will be suspended, they are considering the option of holding one final National Hollerin’ Contest in 2018 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the event.