There are Olympic gold medals for athletics, Oscar and Felix statues for movies, lots of awards for music, Emmys for TV…and the list goes on, but there are some lesser known championships handed out for things that many are not aware even had champions. This list presents some World Championship Events that you may not know about – some are a bit offbeat and some even pay big money.
10. Beard and Moustache World Championship
Pretty much just what it sounds like – best facial hair wins the prize. Teams from countries around the world complete for this prestigious trophy and $5,000 in prize money. According to the 2009 competition reviews, team USA dethroned Germany, which had dominated this competition since its inception, in a championship that included teams from Canada and across Europe. The next championship will be in Trondheim, Norway in 2011, with the national teams going through selection and regional competitions in the interim. Seriously.
9. World Wife-Carrying Championship
The World Championship of Wife Carrying takes place every year in the Finnish province of Sonkajarvi, but similar events have now sprung up around the world. The premise is straight forward – a man must carry his wife over an obstacle course, and is penalized 15 seconds each time he might drop her. As a bizarre sporting contest, it’s fairly hard to beat, and although it started as a joke, it’s taken with the same sort of semi-seriousness that can be applied to a game of pool in a pub, or Monopoly at home – everyone pretends it’s a bit of fun, but doesn’t want to lose either. And there is a weight minimum for the wife, so no advantages for a little missus are allowed. Of course, all this carrying makes a husband thirsty, and luckily the winning prize is not cash, not fame or other fortune… the winning couple gets the wife’s weight in beer. Cheers.
8. Rock, Paper, Scissors
An internationally renowned sport, the history of Rock Paper Scissors (RPS) is extremely rich. RPS is also know as Jenken or Jan Ken Pon (Japan), Roshambo (Southwestern U.S.), Shnik Shnak Shnuk (Germany), Ching Chong Chow (South Africa), Farggling (U.S.) & Scissors Paper Stone (United Kingdom). The world championships attract over 1000 competitors from around the globe to compete for the title, where special gambits and strategy play a big role, and there are even computerized “smart” gloves that can be purchased for off-season training.
Fastest thumbs in the world. This is the contest for the fastest text messaging. In 2009 a 15-year-old girl won the U.S. National Texting Championship, edging out a 14-year-old. And thought this sounds frivolous, the $50,000 prize quickly turns this contest into a serious event. Finalists faced speed-texting challenges, obstacle courses, and social-media challenges , with the winner getting the prize money and the bragging rights, which will likely be exercised in short messages without vowels.
6. World Bog Snorkeling Triathlon
Every year the World Bog Snorkelling Championship is held on a private farm in Wales. Contestants jump into a channel cut into a peat bog, with mask and fins, and snorkel to the finish line. Two 60 yard long trenches are cut in the bog and participants have to swim 120 yards. No recognized swimming strokes are allowed and swimmers can only lift their heads from the dark waters for orientation. And in true fine British fashion, many contestants enter in “fancy dress”. This event has become so popular, that a second event, the World Bog Snorkelling Triathlon, was added in 2005. That involves a cross country run, followed by a bog swim and finished with a mountain bike ride.
5. Cheese Rolling
What has been a tradition for 200 years – the annual cheese rolling race in Gloucestershire – may be no more. Described by the English supporters as “a splendidly chaotic and very dangerous and risky event”, the cancellation of the event on grounds of potential personal danger may be one of the most widely unpopular government decisions since the implementation of personal income tax. Cries of “The Cheese Rolling must go ahead” will be heard in rising volume leading the traditional May 31st event at Coopers Hill, Brockworth. The hill where the event is held can accommodate 2,000 people. Last year, police estimated 15,000 tried to watch the race. Although the event has attracted tourists for several years, the group says they didn’t want to expand the event because “it’s a local event at a very old site.” As for future races, instead of coming to see the event, they recommend people stay home and watch an Internet webcast. The winner’s prize – he gets to keep the cheese.
4. World Toe Wrestling Championship
Though not quite the Bloodsport of full contact kickboxing, toe wresting is by all accounts a highly physical confrontation of the feet. To wrestle, competitors link toes, press the soles of their feet flatly together and pin their opponent’s foot to the ground. You can sprain an ankle, or even under dire situations maybe break a toe. *ouchy boo-boo* Though it has been around since the mid-1970s, the first world championship took place in 1994 and the sport has not looked back since. Though occasionally it may have to look up just to make sure it’s not about to get stepped on.
3. Pie Throwing Championship
The self-proclaimed World Championship of custars pie throwing takes place at at Coxheath, near Maidstone in the UK. Rather than using custard, which isn’t suitable as it would ricochet; pies are actually a mix of flour and water poured onto a paper plate. The mix is carefully engineered and mixed to exact proportions, so it hits squarely in the face and drips off very slowly. Must be for comedic effect. Points are awarded for each pie that hits an opponent according to body part, with a direct hit squarely on the face scoring the most, and 2 consecutive misses leading to points being deducted.
2. World Championship Snail Racing
The course is a circle, with the winning snail being the first one to escape the standard 13″ perimeter line marker. Before snails can enter a race a sticker with a number must be put on so they can be identified; you don’t want any problems, snail racing controversies can get ugly! The World record stands at 2 minutes over the 13 inches. It was set up in 1995 by a snail called Archie. The record can only be challenged at the World Championships at Congham, UK. And one cannot think about bringing in a ringer – local garden snails only, giant foreign snails are not allowed.
1. World Gurning Championship
This is the official world of funny face making. Gurning actually means making a funny, scrunched up face and there is indeed a world championship for this. And this does not mean that it is a contest for the funny looking. Quite to the contrary in fact. There are some relatively normal looking folks out there who can really screw their faces into shapes and contortions that Jim Carrey could only dream about even on his best day. Legend has it that the tradition dates back to 1297 at the Egremont Crab Fair, named after the crab apple, when King Henry III granted the fair a Royal Charter. Crab apples are bitter, and so in celebration of the event, people pulled faces. Hilarity ensued, the action was named and contests have followed ever since. One modern champion actually had his teeth removed so that he had more “elasticity” in his face and mouth for gurning. Only in England…