There hasn’t always been two ‘Osses. Some time in the 1800’s a White ‘Oss was introduced as a rival to the original or ‘Old’ ‘Oss, but it was short lived. There had been different attempts to abolish the ‘Oss mainly because of the boisterous behaviour and heavy drinking that accompanied it however, the attempts failed and the ‘Red’ or Old ‘Oss continued on.
Around 1919, a group of Padstow men returning from the wars instigated what became known as the ‘Peace ‘Oss.’ It was built by William ‘Bluey’ (as was the White ‘Oss) and it became known as the Blue Ribbon (temperance) ‘Oss. The idea was to revitalise the flagging May Day celebrations but they also vowed only to collect for charitable causes unlike the Old ‘Oss, that used their collection for the personal profit of it’s party.
So in times gone by, the choice was by all intents and purpose a moral one. This is not so much the case these days, as the Old ‘Oss party also distributes much of it’s collection to charity. So I guess part of it is about following a family tradition and for outsiders like me, it’s a matter of chance and depended on how or who introduced you to the whole experience.