Jeff McMillan’s interest in the old time sport of Prigus sparked the interest of his collaborators at RVCA, and us. We held the Prigus Sport Show last October, and RVCA recently created a video documenting Jeff’s journey.
Here’s a short history about Prigus, from Jeff’s website.
The origins of Prigus Sport are in a small little town in the North East corner of Georgia named Rabun Gap. That’s where the Bengal Tigers started. The Prigus is the game ball. It was named after a tiny field lizard that inhabited the farms around that that time. Sadly, it went extinct after a short run craze of prigus-skinned billfolds swept the state. As a tribute to this tiny unfortunate lizard, they named the game ball and eventually the sport after it. In present day, it’s about the size of a tennis ball, but has a hot pink suede skin and is solid rubber on the inside (the hot pink color was later adopted to be seen better on the field). There used to be a rubber factory that supported the town of Rabun Gap in the 1920’s, making rubber the available game ball of choice and it has stayed that way since. During WWII the ball was adapted due to the rubber shortage. A two-inch circle was removed from the middle of the ball making it no longer solid. This change made the ball lighter, faster and caused fewer injuries. The ball is cast up and down the field with wooden paddles (similar to the classic fraternity paddle), with the goal of the game being to knock down the opponent’s pins. The pins were originally circle disks about 18 inches in circumference. They were secured by poles that held them up until a pin was struck down by the Prigus. Once all the pins were down a winner was declared. A couple farms in the area put teams together and they played other teams from other farms in the area. The American Dingo, a breed of dog known around Rabun Gap who liked to eat the tiny lizards, kept getting involved in the games and eventually joined the sport. The Dingo became important to the team. The dog would play the part of a sprinter and carry the Prigus up the field and give it to player to score. They are extremely smart and easily trained, and amazingly became part of the evolution of the game.