Frog jumping is a traditional ‘sport’ in many parts of rural America. It was made famous in Mark Twain’s story The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras. The setting of the story, Angels Camp in Calaveras, has been home to annual frog jumping competition since 1928, inspired by the adventures of Jim Smiley and his jumping frog. Now, the competition is the most popular event at the Calaveras County Fair which also includes food and craft stalls, music, and talent competitions. There are more than 40,000 visitors every year who all want to see how far the frogs can jump.

The world record holder of the Jumping contest is a frog named “Rosie the Ribiter,” who made a triple jump of almost 6 metres in 1986. Now, there is a prize of $750 for the longest jump or $5,000 for any frog who breaks Rosie’s record.

Not everybody likes the competition though. Animal rights protestors say the competition is cruel. And now there are strict rules to protect the well-being of the frogs. The number of races they can take part in each day is limited and there must be calming music to make sure the frogs are relaxed between races!

Illustration by Franco Grazioli, taken from The Jumping Frog, by Mark Twain, Reading & Training, Step Two (CEFR B1.1)