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California

San Francisco cable car bell ringing contest to have rare contestant: a woman

For the first time in more than 50 years, a woman will compete in San Francisco’s cable car bell ringing contest.

The contest is at noon on Thursday in Union Square. It is free and open to the public.

Cassandra Griffin will clang to compete against six men.

Griffin joins Ignacio Sandoval, Trini Whittaker, Singh Rai, Joseph Sue and Leonard Oats in hopes of ousting six-year bell-ringing champion Byron Cobb.

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The rules are simple: no props, no additional accompaniment and no electronic devices are allowed. Contestants must dress in their Muni uniforms.

The idea is to recreate the atmosphere of an operator in service, featuring his or her best showmanship for customers coasting along San Francisco’s scenic cable car lines. Operators are judged on rhythm, originality and style.

One of the judges will be San Francisco Fire Department Chief Joanne Hayes-White.


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