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Oklahoma Couple Are Pipe Smoking Champs

Occasionally we will find a story that will take us by surprise, something we had never even heard of, and The News On 6’s Rick Wells has found a doozy. He reports a couple from Boynton has been both national and international pipe smoking champions.

John Self showed us around what he calls his playroom. He says he always wanted a room where he could put all his pipe stuff. Most of the pipes in his cabinet are gifts or trophies; everything in the room is all about pipes.

"The border, the cover on the futon is pipe related,” said competitive smoker John Self.

John and his wife Cheryl are competitive pipe smokers, and the Italian pipe maker whose pipes they endorse has created a line of pipes named for Cheryl. This competitive smoking thing is not new, John's been at it for more than 30 years, and he’s got a coach.

"Anywhere I go to smoke he goes with me,” Self said.

His wife has one too, and they’re good at it.

“We are like seven or eight time international champions,” said Self.

Both were international champs in 2003 and national champs in ’05.

How it works is pretty simple, competitors get identical new pipes, 3.3 grams of the same pipe tobacco and two matches.

“The only way you can get an extra match is if both your matches break,” Self said.

And there are rules, even books to teach you how to get good at it, but there is no secret. For Self it’s pretty simple.

“I just put the tobacco in and light it, I’ve had great success,” he said.

He calls it a slow race. The object is simple; the smoker whose pipe burns the longest wins.

“I’ve went two hours,” said Self.

The current international champ is Paul Spinola. He’s 97 so John said as long as he can draw a breath he'll probably competitively light it up.

There are no competitions in Oklahoma, not even any pipe clubs, but there is a national pipe club website. If you'd like more information click here.

Watch the video: Competitive Pipe Smokers
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