Ready, set, scythe! Russians cut grass against the clock in town contest

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Competitors sharpened their scythes and raced off across a Russian field, hoping to make the cut in the annual mowing competition in the town of Arti.

Men had to sweep their way across 100 metres of overgrown ground, followed by a judge with a stopwatch as onlookers played balalaikas and tambourines. Women had a shorter course of 50 metres.

Every metre of badly mown grass got a 20-second penalty at the event on Saturday. Competitors could also get 20 seconds taken off their time if they wore traditional costume.

The competition is in its seventh year in the town in Sverdlovsk region that grew up around a factory known for its scythes and sickles.

“By the end ... it was hard to walk and the strength was leaving me. But a good scythe and support did their job,” competitor Albert Khaziev said.

Writing by Andrew Heavens; Editing by Alison Williams