The qualifiers are over, and day one of tennis’ U.S. Open got underway earlier today and will rightly be earning headlines in the sports news arena for the next two weeks. However, while many are anticipating a night of neck icing after hours of watching that fluorescent ball bounce hither and yon like a Gen Zer browsing social media, those with a more discerning competitional palate are crowding the Glenwood, Iowa Community Center for the opening day of the U.S Opening Open.
For the uninformed reader, the U.S. Opening Open is the premier contest for container unfastening. If you can name a container, Jesse Cartwrightton, the event’s organizer and three-time Aluminum Can Marathon winner, guarantees that in the ensuing week, “God willing, it will be opened.”
The event began as a challenge between Cartwrightton and his friend Sam “Screwball” Billows, himself an eight-time Plastic Screw-Top Sprint champion, to see who could open five cans of beer the fastest. Cartwrightton claims to have won that first challenge; although Billows challenges the win, asserting that Cartwrightton took advantage of the lack of regulation and performed with a blood alcohol concentration below the modern Open’s legal minimum.
In 1984, three years after that first challenge, the competition’s popularity had grown too large to continue to host it in Cartwrightton’s side yard, so, amongst angry noise complaints from the neighbors, Cartwrightton began reserving the local community center for the yearly event. This year, the 39th-annual U.S. Opening Open is projected to be the third-largest event in Mills County, behind the Mills County Fair and the Carlyle Family Reunion.
The Open has done well to avoid falling behind the times, adding new events every year. Recent popular additions include the Amazon Package Medley and the One- and Two-Handed App Attack trials. The App Attack competitions are among the most controversial, as some attendees argue that opening an application on a mobile device is a fundamentally distinct action from opening a physical container.
For the past eight years, the Open has been overseen by the Aluminum Association, who ensures that all regulations and guidelines are upheld by the competitors. The Association’s involvement also helps to promote the Aluminum Can Division, which is by far the most prominent category of events.
The U.S. Opening Open runs through Saturday evening, concluding with the confusingly-termed Opening Closing Ceremony commencing at 5:00 P.M. Admission is $20 per person and includes all the beer you can open. Children sporting an “I’m Open to Opening” t-shirt get in free.
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