5 Wacky Competitions From Around the World

No matter how fun an activity is, after a while it always gets a bit boring. That’s when people put their wackiest ideas into practice and come up with original competitions just to spice things up. Let’s take a look at five of the world’s wackiest contests:

5. Nathan’s Hot-Dog Eating Contest

Nathans Hot-Dog Eating Contest

Held every year on the 4th of July, in Nathan’s most popular restaurant in Coney Island, New York, this event is considered the most popular hot-dog-eating contest in the world. Legend has it, the competition began in 1916 when four immigrants held the first hot-dog eating contest at one of Nathan’s Famous hot-dog stands, in Coney Island. Since then the competition has been held almost every year.

Contestants of Nathan’s Hot-Dog Eating Contest try to eat as many hot-dogs as they can in the time limit of ten minutes and can use any beverage they prefer to speed up the swallowing. Before 2008, the time limit was of 12 minutes, but the latest research suggests that the original contest of 1926 was ten minutes long.

The winner gets bragging rights and the prized Mustard Belt that he gets to take with him to his home country. For two years now, the belt has remained on American soil, after a long period of Japanese dominance.

The Wife-Carrying Championship

Wife Carrying Contest

Ever since its first edition in 1992, The Wife-Carrying Championship of Sonkajarvi has become one of the main tourist attractions in all of Finland. Couples from countries as far as Japan and the USA register and compete in this fun challenge every year.

The competitors must carry their wives over a 253.5-meters-long track, covered partially with sand, grass and gravel. The wife may be the competitor’s, his neighbor’s or someone he just met, but she must weigh at least 49 kg. If she’s not that heavy she will be burdened with a backpack to help her reach the “ideal” weight. Contestants race two at a time and the one who completes the course in the shortest time is declared the winner.

Lawn Mower Racing

Lawn Mower Race

The British Lawn Mower Racing Association was founded by Jim Gavin in 1973, in Wisborough Green, West Essex. Gavin had raced rally cars all over the world, but became disappointed with the ever higher costs of motor-sports, so he decided to come-up with a cheap form of motor-sport that anyone could enjoy.

While looking at their surroundings, Jim Gavin and the villagers of Wisborough Green realized that everyone had a land mower in their yard and that’s when Lawn Mower Racing was born. Now the British Lawn Mower Racing Association has 250 members and is still referred-to as the cheapest sport in the United Kingdom.

The main objectives of the races are no sponsorships, no commercialism, no cash prizes and no engine modifications. Any profits from the races are donated to charity.

The World Coal Carrying Championship

Coal Bags

On every Easter morning, the English village of Gawthorpe comes to life as people from all over Britain come to watch the annual World Coal Carrying Championship.

It all began in 1963, at the Beehive Inn, where two locals were arguing about which one was the fittest. One of them said he was so fit he could grab a bag of coal, dump it on his back and race his opponent from The Royal Oak Public House to the Maypole. His adversary found the proposition most intriguing and, because they had nothing special planned for Easter morning, they decided to hold the race then.

Nowadays, people register for World Coal Carrying Championship from all over the world. Men have to run a course of approximately one mile, while carrying a 50-kg. coal bag, while the women race across the same course as the men but with only 10 kg of coal on their backs. The contestant who finishes the course in the shortest time is declared the winner.

There are modest cash prizes and trophies but the most important prize is the title of World Coal Carrying Champion and a mention in the Guinness Book of Records.

Ottery St. Mary Tar Barrels

Ottery St. Mary Tar Barrels

The town of Ottery St. Mary is renowned for its Tar Barrels Festival, held every year on November 5th. This tradition is hundreds of years old and its exact origins are unknown, but it is believed to have begun after the gunpowder plot of 1605.

Ottery St. Mary was one of many towns in the West Country that had a history of burning tar barrels, but after the town’s people decided it would be more exciting to carry the burning barrels on their backs, a new tradition was born. Now Ottery is the only town in the whole country, where people still roll fiery barrels through the streets.

Throughout the whole day of November 5th women, children and later men compete in carrying the burning barrels on their shoulders. As the sun sets the men enter the scene carrying large barrels weighing at about 30 kg each. It’s a test of courage and everyone wants a chance to prove they are the bravest and strongest in the town.

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