Who isn’t intrigued by weird sports events?
This Bank Holiday Monday sees a the rather unique annual event of the Cooper’s Hill Cheese Roll taking place.
While it’s one of the many weird sports events that you might have heard of, we’ve done a bit of digging to find out some of the other strange or unusual sporting events around the globe to improve your general knowledge base!
1. Cheese Rolling
A round of Double Gloucester cheese down a steep hill can hit speeds of 70mph, you just have to run down the hill and be the first one to reach the bottom for the cheese! The brutal event sees people themselves bouncing and rolling down the hill as they struggle to stay on their feet in pursuit of the cheese. It’s believed that this event started way back in the 15th century and while the annual event at the end of May used to just be for locals in Gloucester, it’s now attracting people from all over the world, even if many encounter injuries in what is a hectic event. Keen to see a bit more? There’s a documentary about the extreme sporting event in Netflix’s We Are The Champions series.
2. Bog Snorkelling
This doesn’t take place in turquoise waters brimming with marine life, but instead is a swimming competition through 120 yards of a trench cut through a peat bog or muddy marshland. You can only use your fins to power you – you can’t even use standard swimming strokes to propel you through the bog! Its origin is said to have come from a chat in a bar and since it started in 1985, it has become an annual world championship in Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales. Think you’d be any good at this weird sports event? The world record is 1 minute, 18.81 seconds.
3. Competitive Sleeping
Yep, that’s right. The saying “You snooze, you lose” couldn’t be further from the truth here! Spain had its first National Siesta Championship in 2010 to crown the best napper and revive the tradition of napping after lunch. But the USA went one better and sleep tools brand Marpac set up the Competitive Sleeping League (CSL) championship in 2018. The company actually claimed the championship began in 1998 following the growth of the California Sleeping Club. They teamed up with College Humor to live stream the championship!
4. Dog Surfing
Cool dude, cool dog?! Dog surfing started in the 1920s in California and Hawaii, and has become a popular pastime – whether they ride alone or with their owners! You’d probably look twice if you saw a dog on a surfboard but some dogs have become so good at surfing, competitions now take place to judge their balance, wave size and ride length!
5. The Great Cornish Egg & Spoon Race
Scimitar are actually working with The Great Cornish Egg & Spoon Race/St Ewe Free Range Eggs, who will be attempting a Guinness World Record this summer. Their target is to walk 300 miles of Cornwall’s iconic coastline to set the record for the World’s Longest Egg & Spoon Race while raising funds and awareness for Hospitality Action and Cornwall Air Ambulance. We’ll be supporting them by producing kit and merchandise! Find out more by clicking here.
6. Extreme Ironing
Extreme Ironing is said to have originated in the Yorkshire Dales in 1980 when an Englishman was inspired by his eccentric brother who liked to iron clothes on camping trips. The man then started ironing in random places such as airports and on top of telephone booths and mountains! What began as a stunt quickly gained interest with a documentary showing the first Extreme Ironing World Championships.
7. Face Slapping
Nobody likes being slapped in the face, do they? This weird sports event was set up as a competitive sport in 2018, it’s now a sport broadcast live on TV! Competitors take turns slapping the hell out of one another until one taps out or is grounded. Check out the SlapFIGHT Championship by clicking here.
8. Far Leaping (Fjierljeppen)
The Netherlands is a country under sea level, so with its many waterways, you need ways to get around. That’s how Far Leaping is said to have come about back in 1771 – through using a pole to leap from place to place! Nearly 200 years later, championships with leagues and clubs were set up for the sport, which has also spread internationally.
9. Giant Pumpkin Kayaking
The first part of this weird sports event is hollowing out a 450kg pumpkin! After the test of patience and some strong utensils to create your ‘kayak’, you need to get your pumpkin to water to ensure it can float. Once it’s in the water, you jump in your pumpkin and paddle away, but it’s not so straightforward to navigate when paddling a pumpkin! Originating in Nova Scotia, Canada, giant pumpkin races have also taken place in Maine, Oregon and Vermont (USA).
10. Kick Volleyball (Sepak Takraw)
Volleyball, just not with your hands. Use your feet, knees, chest and head to touch the ball. With its origin said to be from Malaysia in the 15th century, it remains a popular sport in that part of the world in other areas such as Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand. It is an international sport with major competitions including the ISTAF SuperSeries, ISTAF World Cup and King’s Cup World Championships.
11. Mud Pit Belly Flopping
The ‘Redneck Games’ was set up in 1996 with events such as toilet seat throwing, armpit serenade, bobbing for pig’s feet and of course, mud-pit belly flopping. Popular from the start, while the Redneck Games ended in 2012, the belly mud-pit belly flopping has spread to various places across North America, wherever dirt and water can be found!
12. Rabbit Jumping
It originates from Sweden in the 1970s – in which jumping courses were created for rabbits. Rules were developed for the smaller species and the first national championship was held in 1987. The Swedish Federation of Rabbit Jumping (SKHRF) formed, and was later followed by Finland, Germay, Norway and the USA in creating clubs. The rabbit jump world record is 99.5cm and took place in 1997.
13. Shin Kicking
To win this weird sports event, it’s all about timing and hitting your opponent in the right spot. The annual World Shin Kicking Championships at the Cotswold Olimpick Games draw thousands of spectators every year – find out more about the next event by clicking here.
14. Toe Wrestling
Another sport that came about from buddies drinking in a pub, toe wrestling was invented in 1974. One of the founders became the first champion but a Canadian took his title before the sport dissolved. Now it’s making a comeback with the annual World Toe Wrestling Championship including players like the ‘Toeminator’!
15. Underwater Hockey
Also known as Octopush, the founder of an underwater diving club wanted to keep members engaged during winter. The game sees teams push a hockey puck into an opponent’s goal along the bottom of a pool, with Canada hosting the first Underwater Hockey World Championship in 1980. It has since spread around countries worldwide including South Africa, Australia the Philippines, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the USA.
16. Chess Boxing
Brains and brawn put together. Players have to be skilled at chess AND boxing, with alternate rounds of the two. The brain takes a bit of a rest while your body does the work, before your body gets a breather while the brain gets to work. Check it out by clicking here.
A very simple one – dropping a stick into the upstream side of the river and the person whose stick makes it to the downstream side first is declared the winner. The annual World Poohsticks Championship has been running on the River Thames in the UK since 1984!
18. Ferret Legging
Competitors tie up their trousers at the ankles so there is no escape route before two ferrets are dropped into the trousers. The person who holds both ferrets for the longest wins in this truly weird sports event!
19. Cardboard Tube Fighting
There is a Cardboard Tube Fighting League which organises annual events throughout the USA and Australia. The ‘warriors’ at events do battle with homemade cardboard armour!
20. Goanna Pulling
This sport originated in the 19th century to honour Australia’s giant lizard (goanna) which is native to the continent. Contestants tie leather straps around their necks, try and replicate the lizard’s posture and then try to pull each other across the line – like a tug of war!
Enjoy this blog? Check out the 5 Interesting, Strange Or Unusual Races blog by clicking here!