Over the past three months, I have tortured my hamstrings and knees while training for a stair climb up the tallest structure in the Western Hemisphere. Tested my fitness and wits in a 3-mile shopping cart race. And in the months to come, I’ll no doubt drag my body through more rigorous feats of stupidity.

Yet, it’s a contest requiring no physical aptitude that scares me the most.

Unlike the National Hollerin’ Contest, all those other events allow me to blend into the crowd. But in less than two weeks, I’ll be on a stage, possibly with thousands of eyes on me for 4 minutes, while I attempt to do something I’ve only tried a few times in the safety of my own home or car.

It’s a tough thing, learning how to holler. Last week, current Hollerin’ Champion Kevin Jasper (whose hollerin’ wisdom I’ll be sharing in future posts) told me that he taught himself to holler by listening to the CD Hollerin’. Naturally, if that was good enough for a four-time champion, it sounded like a good starting point for me. I’m starting to get the hang of some simple hollers, but practicing in the shower is a poor substitute for performing in front of an audience of strangers.

Therefore, I’ve decided to start posting a few short videos of my hollerin’ practice. While it won’t be quite the same as performing on stage, I’m hoping that making these videos available to an audience, even if it’s online, will slowly help to conquer my fears. Also, it will serve as a chronicle of my hollerin’ progress. And it might give you something to laugh about.

So here I am listening to and mimicking a track by H.H. Oliver. Enjoy.