The Odd Side – December 22, 2020

Wayward Wallaroo Rescued From River After Chase in Illinois

PERU, Ill. (AP) — Police in Peru, Illinois, are no strangers to chases — unless what they’re after hops away on two legs.

Officers in the city about 95 miles southwest of Chicago were joined Wednesday afternoon, December 2, by firefighters and even residents in a two-hour pursuit of a runaway wallaroo that bounded through yards and along streets and roads.

Native to Australia, wallaroos are larger than wallabies and smaller than kangaroos. This one — named Wally — got away from his owner in LaSalle County.

Fearing that the marsupial might get hit by a vehicle, Peru Police Chief Doug Bernabei shut down nearby roads.

Wally eventually made his way into a river.

“I had to hold back the owner of Wally because he wanted to enter the Illinois River, and that would have been tragic,” Bernabei told WLS.

Two anglers were nearby.

“We were screaming and pointing. We were saying, ‘Get your net out, get your net out,’” Bernabei told the (Peoria) Journal Star. “They yelled, ‘It’s not a dog!’ We said … ‘It’s not a dog, it’s a wallaroo.’”

They used a net to fish Wally from the frigid water and into their boat before taking him to shore.

“He was so cold we couldn’t register his temperature on the thermometer,” said veterinarian Allison Spayer. “We warmed him up. We dried him off.”

Bernabei said Wednesday was “probably the best day of the year, so far.”

Police said they planned to verify that Wally’s owner had a permit for a wallaroo.


Maryland Man Plays With Fire as Finalist in Beard Contest

GLENWOOD, Md. (AP/The Frederick News-Post) — A local man, his handlebar mustache and fire baton twirling.

All of these things can be found in Benjamin Taylor’s entry for the Wahl Most Talented Beard in America Contest where he also showcases skills that include sign language, drone flying, disc golf and magic tricks.

Taylor is one of 10 finalists in the contest and the only Deaf person in the group. He has a full beard and a long mustache that’s expertly curled up at the ends for maximum effect.

“My wife, she really wanted me to shave my beard,” Taylor said recently through an interpreter. “So we were talking about that. I said, ‘No let’s wait because if I get in the top 10, I’ve got to keep it.’”

And when Taylor made it to the top 10, his wife said he had to make it to the top three.

Wahl is an American grooming company. Their contest will name three winners who will win $20,000, $10,000 and $5,000, respectively.

In 2014, Taylor won second place for English Moustache in the Just For Men World Beard and Moustache Championships.

In the Wahl contest this year, 60% of the decision is left up to a Wahl panel while 40% depends on public opinion.

As for his skills, Taylor said it took some time to decide what he wanted to do, but humor is something he enjoys.

“I wanted to make sure it was very humorous, so I just kind of put all those things together,” he said.