Since the beginning of time, people have been pitting themselves against each other to see who comes out on top. Mankind has always had a desire to know who is the fastest, who is the strongest and who is the smartest. There are competitions held all over the world that attract millions of spectators every year, eager to see who is officially ‘the best of the best.’ While competitions such as the World Cup and the Olympic Games feature world class athletes that earn millions of pounds, other competitions are a little less mainstream. They may not attract millions of TV viewers and sponsorship money but does that mean they’re any less important? (yes, probably). Here is a list of 10 of the most crazy competitions in the world, most of which you probably never even knew existed.
Extreme Ironing Championship
If ironing is one of your most hated chores then perhaps you should consider livening it up by entering the next Extreme Ironing Championships. The ‘sport’ is described by the Extreme Ironing Bureau as “The latest danger sport that combines the thrills of an outdoor activity with the satisfaction of a well pressed shirt.” This basically results in people taking ironing boards to more and more crazy places. Some of the best Extreme Ironing locations have so far included: On top of a mountain, while hang gliding, while wakeboarding and even at the bottom of a lake!
The World Sauna Championships were held in Heinola, Finland and ran from 1999 to 2010. The crazy competition saw contestants sit in a sauna for as long as possible, with the winner being the last person standing (or rather sitting and sweating). The starting temperature was 110 degrees and water would be poured onto the stove every 30 seconds. The competition came to an abrupt end in 2010 though when tragedy struck and one of the contestants died during the event and another was severely injured. Both contestants passed out after 6 hours in the sauna and suffered from severe burns and trauma.
World Beard and Moustache Championship
If you take pride in the quality of your facial hair, then you may want to consider entering the next World Beard and Moustache Championship. The competition has been running since 1990 and now even has its own World Beard and Moustache Association (WBMA). Competitors come from all over the world to see who can grow and style the best beard and moustache. The competition actually has an impressive 17 different categories, including Best Freestyle Moustache, Best Natural Goatee and the all time classic: Best Natural Full Beard and Styled Moustache.
Toe Wrestling Competition
The wonderful sport of toe wrestling was first thought up in a pub in Wetton, England, in 1974. Four friends were angry at the fact that the UK never produced any world champions and so created a sport that they could succeed at. The competition has now risen in popularity and there is a regular World Championships held in Ashbourne, England, every year. It is very similar to arm wrestling and sees competitors lock toes and wrestle until one of them ‘pins’ the other’s foot for 3 seconds. The current World Champion is Alan ‘Nasty‘ Nash.
Bed Racing Championship
There are bed races held all over the world but one of the most famous competitions happens in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, each year. The race first started in 1964 and originally only involved Army, Navy and US Marines. The competition is now open to everyone though and sees teams of six people race along the streets of Knaresborough pushing a bed. The rules state that one team member must be laid on the bed at all times and the bed must have 4 wheels and be able to float. This is due to the fact that the race ends with the simple task of getting the bed across a river!
Cheese Rolling Competition
The oldest competition on this list is also one of the most crazy ones. The Cheese Rolling Championship has been a tradition in England since the fifteenth century and takes place on Cooper’s Hill near Gloucester every year. The ritual sees a 9lb round of Double Gloucester cheese being rolled down Cooper’s Hill with competitors chasing behind it. The winner is the first person to reach the bottom of the slope. The competition originally only involved the residents of the local village of Brockworth but now competitors from all over the world run, roll and tumble down the hill after the cheese.
Worm Charming Championship
If you’re not familiar with the activity of worm charming (and frankly, why would you be), it involves contestants using a small area of grass and a number of different methods to try and attract as many worms as possible from the ground in a set amount of time. Participants use everything from drums, trumpets and pitchforks to make vibrations in the ground to try and coax the worms out. The current world record is held by 10-year-old Sophie Smith from England, who in 2009 collected an incredible 567 worms in 30 minutes; now that’s impressive worm charming!
Black Pudding Throwing Championship
If javelin or discus throwing feel a bit too mainstream for your liking, why not take part in the next Black Pudding Throwing Championship. The crazy competition takes place in the Lancashire village of Ramsbottom, England, each year and sees competitors throwing black puddings at a 20 foot high plinth loaded full of Yorkshire Puddings. The winner is the contestant who knocks off the most Yorkshire Puddings. The contest started due to the intense rivalry between the counties of Lancashire and Yorkshire. I guess that’s one way to settle your feuds!
Midget throwing is one of the more controversial competitions in the world. You may have thought the scene in ‘The Wolf Of Wall Street’ was too weird and cruel but I’m afraid midget (little people) throwing contests are very much real. The ‘sport’ of midget tossing became a popular pub and bar game in the 1980’s and saw short people dressed in protective clothing being thrown by contestants at velcro walls or mattresses. The winner was the person who threw the midget the furthest. The ‘sport’ has now been banned in a number of countries but supporters of the contest have argued that this denies midgets a possible source of income. Check out Midget throwing video below to see what this competitions is all about.
Bee Wearing Contest
One of the strangest and bravest competitions on this list is without doubt the weird contest of bee wearing. The competition takes place in China every year and sees each competitor stand on weighing scales before attracting as many bees as possible to land on their body. In order to attract the swarms of bees, a queen bee is locked in a small box and tied to the competitors’ bodies. The winner is the person who attracts the largest amount of bees in 60 minutes, which is calculated by the weight shown on the scales. Most bizarrely of all, competitors only wear shorts, a nose clip and goggles to protect themselves from the bees!