Mullet of the year awarded to British GP who plans to reignite ‘ashes’ rivalry with Australia

The long and short of it: Dr Bush and his crowning glory of light brown hair which flows down to his shoulder blades
The long and short of it: Dr Bush and his crowning glory of light brown hair which flows down to his shoulder blades - BNPS

When the appropriately named Dr Alistair Bush set out to win the Mulletfest competition, he vowed to spark a new rivalry between Britain and Australia in an echo of the Victorian humour behind the Ashes.

Ten months after the doctor from Dorset entered a heat at a pub in a small town in New South Wales, he is now expected to shave off his barnet and hand it to the Australians in an urn, after emerging victorious at the annual event.

Dr Bush, a GP with the British Army, had always sported a short back and sides haircut until the Covid lockdown. While others resorted to cutting their own hair or dashed to a barbers as soon as restrictions were lifted, Dr Bush decided to keep going.

If he was working in a normal GP surgery he would have shaved off his mane long ago but kept it as “the soldiers are mainly in their 20s and find the mullet funny”.

Three years after he began growing the hairstyle, he flew out to Australia to take part in a heat for Mulletfest in a pub in a small town 80 miles north of Sydney and was invited back to the finals this weekend.

The event began in 2018 as a way to attract tourists to Kurri Kurri, a town of just 6,000 people, to prevent a local pub, The Chelmsford Hotel, from closing down when a major employer left and created an economic crisis.

It has since skyrocketed in popularity and this year saw thousands turn out to Hebburn Motorsport Park, west of Newcastle in New South Wales.

Dr Bush, 45, who works at Bovington Camp in Dorset, won the international category at the annual event after making the 10,600-mile journey from the UK.

Among 13 competitions, Dr Bush was crowned champion of his category for his 30cm long light brown hair which flows down to his shoulder blades.

Thousands enter the event each year and the international category originally began with online entries but spiralled into a global gathering of the iconic hairstyle after entrants from around the world began appearing at heats in person.

At Mulletfest Dr Bush flaunted 'the business in the front...'
At Mulletfest Dr Bush flaunted 'the business in the front... - BNPS
The back of Dr Bush's bullet
.... and the party at the back' - BNPS

Dr Bush likened his campaign for overall champion to the origins of the Ashes test cricket series between England and Australia.

Speaking ahead of the event Dr Bush told local media he would burn his mullet and give it to Australia in an Ashes-style urn to immortalise his locks if he won and kickstart a new rivalry between the two countries.

“There’s something quite funny, I think, about an Englishman coming to Australia and winning a mullet competition,” Mr Bush told the Newcastle Herald on Saturday

“It’s like the Ashes in reverse. You guys came out and beat us, and there was such rancour from us in 1882 that these guys could come from the other side of the world and beat us at cricket. We burnt the bails.

“If I win this thing, I will burn my mullet and send the ashes back to them in a cup.”

The origin of the Ashes

The Ashes tradition began after the 1882 defeat of England by Australia at the Oval which prompted a mock obituary notice for English cricket in the Sporting Times which said: “The body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia.”

Ivo Bligh, the England captain, later vowed to “regain these ashes” and was presented with the famous urn in Melbourne, which is thought to contain the remains of a wooden bail.

While Dr Bush, who was raising money for Testicular Cancer UK, was competing internationally and not directly against the locals, he has said it is the pinnacle of the mullet world. Winning on Australian soil would hurt those in the host country who had a love affair with the mullet, he added.

“This is widely considered to be the Everest of the competitive mullet-growing world. Only the final round in December lies between me and victory. The Aussies may have retained the Ashes in cricket but 2023 is going to be the year the UK beats them in the arena of competitive mullet growing,” he said.

Despite his victory, he has been clear there will be no temptation to keep the mullet.

“Whatever happens, I will chop it off and return to my regular short back and sides,” he said.