Hundreds of people descended on a park in Lincoln, Nebraska, this weekend armed with pool noodles in a fight for the name "Josh."
"Whoever wins gets to keep the name; everyone else has to change their name," said organizer Joshua Swain last year in a Facebook message invite to people named Josh.
The event hosted on Saturday brought Joshes and people not named Josh from all over the US to raise money for the Children's Hospital & Medical Center Foundation in Omaha. People showed up to the fight in kilts, dressed as Spartans, and wearing capes. One person innovated on the weapon of choice by attaching their noodles to drills in order to spin them in battle.
Swain told BuzzFeed News the idea stemmed from his failed attempts at getting the username Josh Swain whenever there was a new online platform. Frustrated and bored during the pandemic, Swain jokingly messaged all the Josh Swains he could find on Facebook and challenged them to a fight to keep the name.
The challenge took on a life of its own on the internet but eventually died down. However, as the date drew nearer, Swain, who is studying engineering at the University of Arizona in Tucson, realized people might actually show up.
"This event was gonna happen whether I was there or not and unless I took responsibility for it I was worried it would become an echo chamber of misinformation," Swain told BuzzFeed News. "I was in my room scared shitless, it felt like there was going to be blood on my hands, but I was shocked to see everything go to plan and go phenomenally."
Hundreds showed up, including at least 50 people named Josh, according to Swain. While the challenge was originally going to be between people named Josh Swain, he opened it up to any Josh and anyone else who wanted to participate.
One other Josh Swain did show up to the event and the two battled for the name in a game of rock paper scissors that Swain (the organizer) won.
Swain asked attendees to wear masks, as the city of Lincoln still has a mask mandate, and images of the event showed many attendees wearing them. He also bought masks to give out to people who didn't have one, as did others who attended.
"I totally understand it's a pandemic and that was one of my biggest fears," Swain said. "Thankfully the majority of people who showed up were wearing masks."
Ultimately, as Swain said in a tweet that made the battle go viral, there could only be one Josh, and the title went to 4-year-old Josh Vinson Jr. nicknamed "Little Josh" by the chanting crowd, who won with a final swing of a red noodle.
Shortly after being honored with a Burger King crown that was too big for his head, Little Josh was hoisted into the air while holding a wrestling champion belt.
His victory was meant to be, his dad, Josh Vinson Sr., told the Lincoln Journal Star. Little Josh suffered from seizures when he was about 2 years old, his father said, and he received treatment at Children's Hospital, the recipient of Sunday's fundraising money.
The fundraiser has so far raised $10,625. Attendees also donated about 200 to 300 pounds of food for the Food Bank of Lincoln, the Journal Star reported.
"Please consider donating to show the world how the internet can turn an exercise in absurdity into something beautiful," Swain wrote in a post for the official event details.