Egg crack-‘n time in Peters Hollow, 200th Easter Egg Fight is Easter Sunday

Published 9:25 am Tuesday, April 4, 2023

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BY C.Y. Peters
     We have talked about the 200th Peters Hollow Easter Egg Fight for nearly 50 years. What we would do, how we would do it, and the people we would invite. Sunday is the 200th Egg Fight and it will be just like all the rest of the egg fights. Nothing really special, just the 200th year. Really it will be the 199th Egg Fight but the 200th year. In 1823 some of the men from Rome Hollow were sitting around talking with the men from Peters Hollow and there was a challenge of whose chickens laid the hardest eggs. The fight began every Easter Sunday at the bottom of Peters Hollow and worked its way near the top of Peters Hollow where the fight is held. The egg fight was canceled one year because of COVID.
     Norman Peters has hosted the fight for the past 40 years or so. Peters has attended every fight his entire life. It was held in his parents’ yard for many years before moving over to Norman’s. In the early 1950s through the late 1970s, it was held a few houses down the hollow at Brooks Taylor’s house. Norman won his first and only egg fight back in 1970. He’s still working on his second win and it may be this year. Back then there were about 300 fighters in the competition. In the past few years, there have been between 40-50 fighters, and it’s still hard to win.
     Jerry Peters is the king of the egg fight; he has won eight times. Peters passed away in October of 2020. Jerry’s passion was worshiping his Lord and fellowshipping with those at New Liberty Free Will Baptist Church. His other passion was raising chickens in the hope of having the hardest eggs around. Jerry passed these eggs each year to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren to participate in the tradition of the Peters Hollow Egg Fight. Jerry won his first fight in 1963 and his last in 2016 when he defeated his granddaughter, Joy Henry.  In 1963 Peters defeated Ruth Jones, who was a tough competitor. Ruth came in second five years in a row before winning in 1968. She lost to Freeman Taylor in 1964, Leroy Taylor twice in 1965 and ’66, then to Robert Greer in 1967. Jones would win back-to-back, taking the 1969 crown as well. She would not win another until 1985 and her final victory would come in 1998.
     Mike Scott from Unicoi has won six times starting back in 1979. He won it back to back in 1979-80 and in 2002-03. His last win came in 2017. Mike is famous for wearing his Virginia Tech hat – his lucky piece.
     No one has won the egg fight three years in a row with records back as far as 1958 when Howard Peters won. The following years saw Ray Lowe in ’59, and Paul Peters in 1960. A father and son won the fight in 1973 and 1974 when Charles Hyder Jr. won and his son, Charles “Chuck” Hyder III, won the fight in 1974. Seven times there have been back-to-back winners. Hannah Colbaugh was the last to try for the triple crown.
     Last year in the 2022 fight, which was an election year, many of the candidates came as they have every year since Jimmy Quillen would come up in the 1960s. Quillen served in the  United States House of Representatives in Tennessee from 1963 to 1997. Suzanne Sweet Cook, who was elected Circuit Court Judge, Part I, was one of the judges along with Carter County Mayor Patty Woodby.
     In the early days, competitors could bring as many eggs as they wanted. Over the years some have brought as many as 300 dozen, and some more. I have seen pick-up truck beds full of Easter Eggs. The fight would go on until late in the night. Cars would be parked all the way down to Brooks Carrier’s home at the foot of the hollow. Now there is a limit on how many dozens you can enter the fight with. It starts with one dozen for the little ones and in the adult division you can have six dozen eggs.
     The children’s division began in 1975, and Rogers Andes was the first winner. Other divisions started years later. The fight begins at 1:30 p.m. on Easter Sunday. The newborn to two years olds is first, followed by the 2-4 division and then the 5-12 followed by the adult fight that usually begins at 3 p.m. or when the children’s division is over. Just follow the signs to Union Hill Church and just before you get there, on the right side of the road you will see cars lined up in the field at Norman Peters’ home. Bring your own chair. Norman has some, but many more are needed for the crowd expected this year.

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