Fibbing for Fame and Folly


This illustration by John Schmelzer appeared in the December 1986 issue of Ford Times.

The Burlington Liars’ Club

To view the winning lies for 2023, click here.

The club started in 1929 as a joke. A Burlington newspaper reporter wrote a story to the effect that these “old timers” got together each New Year’s day at the police station, and lied for the championship of the city. He told a brother reporter of his plan, and the story was “sprung” just before New Year’s.

They considered the story a good local joke, and after it had appeared in their respective newspapers, forgot about it. However, city editors, with an eye for interesting features, “put it on the wire,” and the following December the Associated Press and other news agencies began phoning Burlington to find out if the city’s annual contest would be repeated.

By this time one of the reporters had left Burlington, and the other one, feeling it would be a shame to miss an opportunity to hornswoggle the public, concocted a story and sent it on its way. Letters began to trickle in from the four corners of the country commenting on the “contest.” They furnished the inspiration for a real contest instead of a phony one, national in scope, and the Burlington Liars’ Club was formed to carry it on.

Each year since the club has selected a winning entry. If you would like to enter the contest for 2024, mail your tall tale to: Burlington Liars’ Club, P.O. Box 156, Burlington, WI 53105 or send an email to: [email protected] along with your name, address and your tall tale. If you or someone you know would like to become an official card carrying member of the Burlington Liars’ Club, include $1 for each membership along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope.