The competitive instinct of us humans is such a natural trait that it manifests itself in some of the most bizarre ways. Perhaps the best example of this are the myriad strange and incredulous contests and competitions that exist and are followed with all the competitive fervor across the globe.
So, here’s a choicest selection of some of the most unusual and weirdest competitions around the world that would make surely make you admit that people can compete on almost anything.
The Extreme Ironing World Championships
Extreme Ironing World Championships, held first in 1997 in Leicester, Great Britain, is among the craziest competitions around and hence requires the first mention. An exciting and perilous sport that requires participants to not just possess rock-climbing or maybe scuba diving skills but also the art of ironing items of laundry! So, extreme ironing championship is all about being able to iron laundry in ‘extreme’ circumstances such while atop a mountain, or snowboarding or even canoeing or under water.
World Sauna Championships
The World Sauna Championship held every August in Heinola, Finland, started in 1999 with competitors from over 20 countries participating in the event. Competitors are required to sit upright on their knees with their thighs and buttocks on a seat in a 110-degrees sauna with half-a-liter of water being added every 30-seconds. And to add to the agony, they mustn’t touch any surface with their hands or forearms. The person who can sit the longest is declared the winner!
And then there is the world championship on Feet wrestling that was first held in 1976 in a Derbyshire pub in Great Britain. A dangerous competition that could result in grave ankle and toe injuries, this sport and another of its counterpart- World Toe Wrestling Championship held in Bentley Brook Inn, England since 1974- are held annually and have contestants fighting foot and toe to win.
World Beard and Moustache Championship
And, people cannot get more creative or crazier enough than this. Imagine, there is a World Beard and Moustache Championship held at various locations across USA and Europe since 1990! Comprising over 15 different categories of contests that range natural to freestyle, this competition is a rave with many.
Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake
Another surprising contest that finds the contestants chasing a 9-pounds wheel down a steep slope in a bid to reach the finish line at the bottom first is the Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake. This crazy competition has had several casualties yet not been able to deter participation. And, all this for the cheese!!
Air Guitar Championships
The Annual Air Guitar World Championship Contest, held annually in Oulu, Finland since 1996, was coined as a side attraction to the Oulu Music Video Festival. With time, this joke turned into one of the biggest annual competitive events with people pretending to play heavy metal or rock-style electric guitar solos (no backup bands-either real or air are allowed!!). And mind it, real instruments are an absolute no-no at this competition!!
Worm Charming Championships
A craze in England since 1980 when it was first organized by John Bailey, a headmaster, World Worm Charming Championships is an annual event with worm charmers working on a small plot of land allotted to them, to charm as many worms out of their muddy abodes as possible within the set time of 30-minutes.
The ensuing madness as contestants tap, bang, stab & dig the soil with pitchforks to lure worms to surface is a sight unto itself. And, this sport has found its place to the Guinness World Records too, with a 10-year-old girl holding the record of collecting 567 worms in 30 minutes!
Midget Throwing Contest
Originated in the 1980s in Australia, this bar attraction has become a full-blown contest, even though the legitimacy of this sport is a matter of perpetual argument. Midget Throwing, or Dwarf Tossing contests involve the contestants competing to throw dwarves wearing special padded clothing onto Velcro-coated walls or mattresses. The one who throws the dwarves the farthest wins the contest.
The World Black Pudding Throwing Championships
Held annually in England, every 2nd Sunday in September, the “World Black Pudding Throwing Championships” is one of the most bizarre contests of all. Held in celebration of the ancient rivalry between Yorkshire and Lancashire, this competition involves three attempts at flinging a black pudding swaddled in lady’s tights underhanded in an attempt to knock down as many puddings of the rival team off a 20-feet high plinth on the side of a pub wall, as one can. Bizarre, isn’t it?!
Another strange competition that was invented by the Finnish, and is popular in many countries including Marquette, Monona, and Wisconsin, is the wife-carrying race. A sport of sorts, it involves men carrying their wives over their shoulders (in varying styles from piggyback to Estonian-style or fireman’s lift) as they race across an obstacle track. And, while in the place of its origin, Sonkajarvi, the winner is still rewarded with beer equivalent to his wife’s weight, several other places have other rewards for the winner of this weird game.
And, as if these weren’t enough, we have more to add to the list!! From Cockroach Racing in Australia to the Chinese Bee-Wearing Competition, Japan’s Baby Crying Contest and more like Lawn Mower Racing, Gurning Championship and Shovel Racing, too, the list is indeed exhaustive!