Hundreds of Joshes battle it out with pool noodles to defend their name
Multiple people with the name Josh duked it out with pool noodle out to find out who is the rightful owner of the name Josh via a battle royale in an open green space in Air Park on Saturday, April 24, 2021, in Lincoln, Neb. What started as a mid-pandemic joke took on life Saturday, as a mixed bag of individuals sharing only their name came to battle it out. The winner was to be declared the rightful owner of the name. (Kenneth Ferriera/Lincoln Journal Star via AP)
Rachel Trent, CNN
Published Sunday, April 25, 2021 5:27PM EDT
Hundreds of people named Josh from around the United States have fought over their shared name with pool noodles in a Nebraska field. Sure, that sounds a little weird, but it's been a weird 12 months.
The battle has been brewing since April 2020, arguably the peak of US boredom.
It started as a joke, when a man named Josh Swain in Arizona made a group chat of all the Josh Swains he could find on Facebook, challenging them to a fight on April 24, 2021 to keep the name.
"For a long time I've gone on Twitter and Instagram and I've tried to get the handle of just 'Josh Swain' and it's always been taken," Swain told CNN affiliate KLKN. "One day I was like, 'Alright, we can fix this.'"
While the original challenge was posed to people named Josh Swain, the invitation was eventually extended to anyone with the first name Josh. Swain set Lincoln as the place because of its central location in the US.
"This was a complete joke," Swain wrote on Reddit ahead of the battle. "But when I posted the screenshots to my Twitter here, the internet ran with it, and ran with enough endurance for you all to remember a YEAR later. That doesn't happen very often, so I'm afraid I have to oblige the internet and trek all the way across the contiguous United States to defend my name."
Never underestimate the internet.
On Saturday, hundreds of people brought their pool noodles to Lincoln, Nebraska, to battle it out.
Ahead of the event, Swain encouraged everyone to wear a mask and emphasized that there would be no physical violence.
One other Josh Swain showed up in Lincoln, so before the Joshes drew their pool noodles, the two Swains faced each other in a rock-paper-scissors duel. The event-organizing Swain came out on top.
Then it was time for the main event, when all Joshes gathered for the pool noodle fight. The rules were simple: A player was out if they were touched by an opponent's pool noodle before they could retaliate.
Four-year-old Lincoln local Josh Vinson Jr., known as "Little Josh," was crowned the winner. He received a Burger King crown, a champion's belt and a tiny trophy.
"He's going to remember this for the rest of his life," Vinson's father told KLKN.
Swain also used the event to give to charity. He asked people to bring non-perishables for a food drive for the Food Bank of Lincoln. He also made a fundraising page titled, "'Help pay legal fees for Josh Swain's to change their name' fund," which Swain said was a "fun title" for a fundraiser for a Nebraska children's hospital.
"It is not often that someone has the opportunity to have the attention and focus of a large number of people, and so I thought it would be a great idea to use this spotlight to bring word to a few worthy causes," Swain said. He asked people to consider donating to show the world "how the internet can turn an exercise in absurdity into something beautiful."