World's Quirkiest Contests

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world's quirkiest contests

Robert F. Bukaty, AP

Not content to simply be the World's Greatest Mom or Dad anymore? Ever tried your hand at worm charming? Bog snorkeling? Cow chip throwing? Surely you've hollered, or lied, or napped in your day, and you've even gurned, whether you know it or not.
Not content to simply be the World's Greatest Mom or Dad anymore? Ever tried your hand at worm charming? Bog snorkeling? Cow chip throwing? Surely you've hollered, or lied, or napped in your day, and you've even gurned, whether you know it or not.

These wackiest of annual title bouts are open to all comers, so start practicing now, and maybe you too can be an international champion. After all, someone has to be.


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World's Quirkiest Contests
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World's Quirkiest Contests

April | Beaver, OK

Part of Oklahoma's annual Cimarron Territory Celebration since 1970, the Cow Chip Throw has put Beaver on the map as the global headquarters of dried bovine dung hurling.
Rules: Select your two favorite dried cow chips from the official wagon and, one at a time, launch them (as is; no poo altering allowed). The farthest distance counts as your score.
Who can enter: Anyone age 16 or older. There's a men's open, a women's open, a special VIP division, and even a team competition.

April | Tokyo, Japan

This 400-year-old competition, originating ostensibly as a method to ward off evil spirits and ensure good health for children, involves sumo wrestlers scaring the bejeezus out of unwitting infants to see which one can be the most vocally unhappy. It's reportedly based on a Japanese proverb that holds that "the child who cries will thrive."
Rules: Get yourself picked up, held, bounced and scowled upon by a sumo wrestler, then cry longer and louder than the other baby who's in the same predicament across from you.
Who can enter: Babies.

June | Spivey's Corner, NC

Since 1969, thousands of people have descended every June upon little Spivey's Corner (usual population: 49) for this celebration of North Carolina folk life and the traditional holler. Contest hollerin' usually falls into one of four categories: distress, functional, communicative or pleasure.
Rules: Clearly due to past transgressions, the rules here are more about what you can't do than what you can: Holler your heart out, but no soliciting help from others, no mike-cupping, no drunkenness, no profanity, and no using the stage to seek political office.
Who can enter: Anyone. Juniors, teens, and ladies get their own divisions, and there are special whistlin' and conch shell blowin' competitions as well.

June | Chipping Campden, England

Debuting a shocking four centuries ago as part of the so-called Cotswold Olimpicks, the Shin Kicking Contest is a rural Gloucestershire tradition. While it's evolved from earlier leg-crushing days when combatants' boots were reinforced with steel, it's still a fairly brutal spectacle.
Rules: Pack your socks with straw, don the time-honored white smock of the shepherd, grab your opponent by the shoulders, and kick his shins until you can bring him down. Best of three bouts wins.
Who can enter: Anyone, especially those with no pressing need to walk for a while.

June | Willaston, England
Since 1980, earthworm charmers have been flocking to the little Cheshire village of Willaston for the annual world championships. Competitors are each given a three meter square plot of land with which to work, and for one half hour must try to charm as many crawlers as they can from the ground, using only vibrations. The record? 567.
Rules: Garden forks can be used to vibrate the ground, as can any form of music, but digging and drugging (including water, apparently an earthworm stimulant) are strictly forbidden.
Who can enter: Anyone. If you don't want to touch the worms yourself, designate someone your "Gillie."

July | Sonkajärvi, Finland

Though it's now spread to Asia and the United States, the fine art of wife carrying was born in Finland, with its roots believed to be in actual wife stealing. Wives may be carried however one sees fit, but the most common methods are the traditional piggyback, the upside-down back dangle, and the over-the-shoulder throw.
Rules: The wife you carry may be your own, a neighbor's, or "you may have found her farther afield." She must be over 17 and weigh at least 49 kilos (about 108 pounds).
Who can enter: Men. Besides the main race, the sprint, and the team event, prizes are also awarded for the most entertaining couple, the best costume and the strongest carrier.

August | Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales

Oh, the ideas people come up with after a few pints: Legend has it that the concept for bog snorkeling was born in 1976 at the nearby Neuadd Arms pub. Since 1985 it's been an annual competition, wherein people swim the 180 foot length of a thick and filthy water-filled mid-bog trench, braving all manner of weeds and leeches along the way.
Rules: No conventional swimming strokes are allowed, so doggie paddles are the order of the day. Snorkel breathing is mandatory.
Who can enter: Anyone over 14. Separate contests cover men, women, juniors, and locals, while a special prize goes out to the best dressed. There's also a mountain bike division, as well as a bog snorkeling triathlon.

September | Egremont, England

Part of the Cumbrian town of Egremont's annual Crab Fair (which dates back to the 13th century), the Gurning Championship – wherein people make their ugliest face whilst donning a horse's collar – has gradually become the highlight. Twelve time champ Tommy Mattinson will return this year to defend his title.
Rules: Stick your head through a braffin (local lingo for a horse collar) and pull your ugliest mug. No facial distorting help allowed via fingers, tape, or rubber bands. Audience applause decides the winner.
Who can enter: Anyone. Men, women, and juniors have their own divisions.

October | Madrid, Spain

First held in 2010, this new competition seeks out Spain's best napper, with the aim of promoting the siesta as "healthy and good for everyone." Contestants bunk down at a busy Madrid shopping mall, and whoever sleeps the most (and does it the most artfully) for 20 minutes is the winner.
Rules: Have sleep monitors attached to your body, then off to bed. Masks and ear plugs allowed. Extra points for outfit elegance, original sleep positions, and loudest snoring.
Who can enter: Anyone who sleeps.

November | Santon Bridge, England Originating with the tall tales of a beloved local in the 19th century, this Cumbrian tradition has evolved into a national and even international sensation. Actually, it's the biggest and best contest in the history of the world. Yeah, that's the ticket.
Rules: In five minutes, spin your greatest yarn. No scripts or prompts allowed.
Who can enter: Anyone, but politicians and lawyers are automatically disqualified for being too skilled in the art of fibbery.

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