10 of the World's Most Bizarre Competitions

 Midget Throwing Contest

The Midget Throwing, or Dwarf Tossing, originated in Australia in the 1980's. A bar attraction in which dwarves wearing special padded clothing or Velcro costumes are thrown onto mattresses or at Velcro-coated walls, participants of the contest compete to throw the dwarf the farthest.

Dwarf tossing is widely considered to be offensive to the dignity of dwarfs, and some legislators have considered bans. Proponents of the sport have criticized such moves, with some arguing bans deny dwarfs a possible source of income.

Air Guitar Championships

Since 1996 the annual Air Guitar World Championships contest has been a part of the Oulu Music Video Festival in Oulu, Finland. The idea of the contest was originally coined as a joke (in which the performers pretended to play rock or heavy metal-style electric guitar solos) meant only to be a side attraction for the music video festival.

The first on-off air guitar competitions have been organized in the early 1980s in Sweden and in the United States. With rules such as “No back-up bands – air or real – are allowed” and “Competitors may finger pick or strum with either electric or acoustic – but all ‘real’ instruments are banned”, it’s obvious that these guitar heroes take the competition quite seriously. In 2008, the gold winner was Craig “Hot Lixx Hulahan” Billmeie from the US.

 Extreme Ironing World Championships

The Extreme Ironing World Championships started in Leicester, UK in 1997, and is an exciting and dangeous sport where anyone who would like to participate should be ready for ironing a few items of laundry, preferably on a difficult climb of a mountainside, ice or under water.

The description on the official Extreme Ironing Bureau does the sport some justice: "It is an outdoor activity that combines the danger and excitement of an 'extreme' sport with the satisfaction of a well pressed shirt. It involves taking an iron and board (if possible) to remote locations and ironing a few items of laundry. This can involve ironing on a mountainside, preferably on a difficult climb, or taking an iron skiing, snowboarding or canoeing."

 World Sauna Championships

The World Sauna Championship takes place in Heinola, Finland every August. This championship was started in 1999. Competitors from over 20 countries take part in the competition at their own risk, and have to sign a form agreeing not to take legal action on the organization. The competitors must sit in a 110° sauna and half a liter of water is added every 30 seconds. They must sit erect with their thighs and buttocks on the seat. They cannot touch any surface with their hands and forearms have to be in an upright position and must stay on their knees. The person who sits longest is the winner.

 World's Ugliest Dog Contest

The World's Ugliest Dog Contest takes place every year at the coliseum in Petaluma, California, U.S., to decide which of the dogs entered in the contest is the ugliest. Along with the title of "The World's Ugliest Dog", the winner's owner gets a USD $1,000. The winner of the 2007 World's Ugliest Dog was Elwood, a Chinese Crested-Chihuahua mixed breed dog owned by Karen Quigley, a resident of Sewell, New Jersey. 2008's winner was also a Chinese Crested, Jeanenne Teed's Gus. He is hairless, with three legs and one eye.

 World Beard and Moustache Championships

This beardy weirdy competition gives rise to thousands of carefully coiffed men, all vying for the title of most inventive and perfectly sculpted facial hair. Entrants include bearded renditions of the Golden Gate Bridge, Buckingham Palace, or just plain whacky handlebar creations. The next competition will be held on May 23, 2009 in the City of Anchorage, Alaska. Don’t forget your scissors.

Miss Russian Army

What could the Russian Army do to get good publicity and to recruit more man? The Russian Defense Ministry decided to throw a beauty contest, so in June 2005, nineteen female soldiers and sailors participated in the competition (entitled "Beauties in Shoulder Straps"), which was broadcast on live television. The event included the soldiers walking down the catwalk in uniform and singing songs while accompanied by guitarists (a memorable lyric included the phrases, "Since we're soldiers, our first concern is automatic weapons; boys come second"). Other events, shown on film, saw the contestants competing in drills, crawling in combat uniform, entering tanks, and running with automatic weapons. The jury ultimately gave the title to Lieutenant Ksenya Agarkova, an engineer with Russia's Northern Fleet.

The World Black Pudding Throwing Championship

The bizarre contest celebrates the ancient rivalry between Lancashire and Yorkshire and attracts people from far away as Australia to the small town of Ramsbottom. The aim of the game is to throw a Black Pudding that has been 'swaddled' or wrapped in a pair of ladies tights at collection of Yorkshire Puddings ( if you don't know, do a search on the web for the recipe, this is a Lancashire site) on a plinth 20 feet up on the side of the pub wall. To a competitor standing on the 'Golden Grid' introduced by a member of the media in 2001 for pictorial effect, it's a difficult task as only an underarm throw can be used.

World Conker Championships

It’s a great spectacle as modern day gladiators fight for glory armed only with a nut and 12” of string. Organised by Ashton Conker Club, the competition first took place in 1965 and has grown ever since. Teams from all over the world meet for the competition. The competitors play on eight white podiums on the village green and go through rounds until the winner emerges and is lead to the Conker Throne and crowned with conkers. There are separate Men’s, Ladies’ and Junior competitions.

As well as being a fantastic fun family day out with stalls and sideshows, there is a serious point: to raise money for charities for the blind and the visually impaired. Last year’s total raised was £25,000.

Worm Charming Championship

What could bring together hundreds of people, TV camera crews and funny dressed up men with WORMS? It could only be the Worm Charming competition, of course! Charmers came from all over the world to take part in 30 minutes of muddy madness - banging, tapping and stabbing the ground with pitchforks to entice the worms to the surface.

The World Worm Charming Championship started in 1980 and is now an annual event that celebrates the sport. It was organized by then-headmaster John Bailey, who wrote the original rules for the competition. The current world record, as listed by Guinness World Records, was established at that first event with teenager Tom Shufflebotham collecting 511 worms in 30 minutes.

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