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S.F. Bay Area — No. California
San Francisco
San Francisco Attractions

Cable Car Bell-Ringing Competition
Union Square

Fun Annual Summer Event
In May 1949, a contest was held in Union Square to select "San Francisco's Best Cable Car Bell-Ringer." That tradition continues today. Held every summer/early fall in the heart of Union Square, the popular Cable Car Bell- Ringing Competition draws throngs of tourists and locals alike. Come along and cheer on the Cable Car Gripmen as they compete for prizes by ringing out tunes on their cable car bells. 

Cable Car Bell-Ringing Champion



The Cable Car Bell-Ringing Competition is sponsored by Muni — San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA).

What the Judges Look For
Judges looks for good rhythm, overall sound, originality, and how the gripmen handle the bell that is mounted atop the cable car.

Free Admission
The fun starts at 12 noon
Free admission

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Cable Car Bell-Ringing Champions

2017 World Champion
Six-time World Championship Bell Ringer, Byron Cobb reclaimed the title as San Francisco's Best Cable Car Bell Ringer. Last year's winner Leonard Oats came in second place.

2016 World Champion
Leonard Oats claimed the title as San Francisco's Best Cable Car Bell Ringer. He beat reigning and six-time World Championship Bell Ringer, Byron Cobb.

Past Winners include:

2013 World Champion
For the second year in a row, defending champion bell-ringer Trini Whittaker reclaimed his title as San Francisco's Best Cable Car Bell Ringer. Ken Lunardi was runner up, followed by Joseph Sue in the third place.

2012 World Champion
For the first time in the history of the Cable Car Bell-Ringing Competition, there was a tie for first place — between Trini Whittaker and 3-time champion Leonard Oats. After a "ring-off" took place, the judges determined Trini as the winner, with Oats coming in a close second. It was so exciting to watch — Trini sure knows how to clang that bell!

Check out past Cable Car Bell-Ringing World Champions below:

2011 World Champion
No Cable Car Competition was held in 2011.

2010 World Champion
The 2010 contest took place in September — but without the cable car gripmen and conductors (they chose to boycot the event). Typically, the contest includes two bell-ringing rounds — one with media reps and the other with Muni workers. Three media workers participated in the 2010 contest.

First-place honors went to Scotty Bastable, Sales Manager for KOIT-FM. Second-place went to Roberta Gonzales, a KPIX-TV weather anchor. And Marcus D, a DJ for KLLC-FM (Alice 97.3) came in third.


2009 World Champion
Leonard Oats clanged his way to a 3-repeat victory (he won in 2008 and 2007) in the 47th Annual Cable Car Bell-Ringing Contest in Union Square on Tuesday, June 9, 2009.

Second-place honors went to Frank Ware. Howard Woo placed third in the competition.


2008 World Champion
Leonard Oats clanged his way to a repeat victory (he won last year) in the 46th Annual Cable Car Bell-Ringing Contest in Union Square on Tuesday, June 3, 2008.

Second-place honors went to Ken Lunardi (three-peat winner). Byron Cobb placed third in the competition.


2007 World Champion
Leonard Oats clanged his way to his first-ever victory in the 45th Annual Cable Car Bell-Ringing Contest in Union Square on Thursday, July 12, 2007.

Second-place honors went to Ken Lunardi (last year's winner). Frank Ware placed third in the competition.


2006 World Champion
Ken Lunardi was the proud World Champion Cable Car Bell-Ringer winner in 2006 — his third win.

Ken beat out the 2005 champion and five other competitors with his nearly two-minute cable car jingle.

Byron Cobb, a cable car gripman — defending champion and five-time winner — came in second in 2006.


More Info
Cable Car Bell-Ringing Contest
SFMTA web site
415-673-MUNI
415-673-6864

415-474-1887


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The Cable Car Bell-Ringing Championship is held every summer at Union Square in San Francisco. As you can see from the photo, the event draws throngs of tourists and locals alike.

Ken Lunardi - 2006 World Champion Cable Car Bell Ringer in San Francisco, California

Jan Wahl at San Francisco's Cable Car Bell-Ringing Contest, California

Annual Cable Car Bell Ringing Contest, Union Square, San Francisco, California

Trophies at the Cable Car Bell-Ringing Contest in San Francisco's Union Square, California

Ken Lunardi (right) 2006 World Champion Cable Car Bell Ringer in San Francisco, CA

Cable Car Bell Ringers

San Francisco Mayor, Gavin Newsom, at the Cable Car Bell-Ringing Competition in San Francisco, California


 

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