Off-The-Wall Competitions That Are Not The Average Spectator’s Sport

By Olajide O

A lot of strange stuff goes on in different parts of the world. Many are unheard of, but it would surprise you to know that others are somewhat popularized despite their unique nature. Competitions are known to be fun and capable of keeping boredom at bay. But not all that’s fun dwells within the bounds of common sense. Humans love to compete. It is in our DNA. Beyond the regular sports and reality show competition that you and I often cherish, there might be some other unconventional ways in which people satisfy this primal desire. We have compiled a list of some of the weirdest competitions that you won’t even believe exist. Some are weird, stupid, and highly risky in some cases.

World Beard and Mustache Championships

Oh, keep that cheeky grin to yourself! Ever wondered what good keeping a beard and a mustache can do? Well, here is one. If you sport quite a generous amount of beard or mustache, you can consider this sport. It is not your run off the mill pageant competition. It is an internationally recognized competition that happens in several locations every year.

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Fascinated already? Here is how it works. There are about 17 categories upon which three distinct groups of beard keepers are judged, and winners are awarded. There is a particular group for those who sport either a mustache, partial beard, or a full beard.

Tar Barrels

According to our research, this competition has been around for generations spanning over centuries. When we talk about the wildest, weird, and weird competitions in the world, we’re referring to ones like this. If you watched a clip of this competition, you’d think about just how crazy this competition it is.

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A weighted and empty barrel is immersed in thick tar, leaving no part of it uncovered. Each barrel is then inflamed and starts burning hot. The contestants are tasked with carrying the flaming barrels on their backs and running with them.

The Jungle Marathon

This marathon is an awkward twist of what would pass as an Olympic triathlon. The location is not in London, Beijing, or any other notable sports complex where some of the world’s most exciting Olympic sports have occurred. This competition occurs in the deepest part of the Amazonian jungle.

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It is a thrilling seven-day competition that takes the athletes through the most dangerous courses. The competition categories include a 79-mile race divided into four stages, another 158-mile race divided into six stages, and a marathon. The competition could even be considered life-threatening.

Wife Carrying Competition

Just when you thought that you have seen it all, this kind of competition just stares you in the face and motions to you, “Hey, I exist.” The origin of this competition is unknown, but it is common in Finland, where there is a whole set of rules involved. Married couples tend to make up the population of participants.

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The competition is not just happening anywhere. It is common in North America. It’s is all about enrolling in a relevant weight category for your wife, and if you win, you earn five times your wife’s weight. It has been stated to be one of the most exciting competitions in the Fall Festival. It may also be televised, albeit on Social Media.

The Bed Race

Ever heard of the Great Knaresborough Bed Race? Yes, Bed and Race, all together in one sentence! Slow down! We know that you can’t quite place how this competition works. Do the participants sleep on a bed, and someone somehow carries them towards a finish line or what? Well, don’t give yourself a migraine in the process.

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The registered participants come together in different teams, and their task is to push a beautifully decorated bed towards the finish line. It doesn’t sound easy, does it? This is a yearly competition that consists of at least 540 contestants. The beds are not your orthodox bed to sleep in because they come with a special design, usually homemade.

The World Sauna Championship

Saunas are a place of relaxation where you can just chill out and ease off some accumulated stress. At what point does this become a competition? Well, the people of Finland have other things in mind. This competition involves discovering who can last in the most heated conditions.

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Men and women compete in different categories across five rounds. The rules state that each contestant maintains a rigid posture for as long as the rounds go. They are to keep their hands from touching the surface. This is not a competition you can take part in without permission from a doctor. It is necessary to avoid casualties.

Bee Wearing Competitions

We cannot begin to tell you just how dangerous this competition is. Every time we hear the phrase “swarm of bees,” what echoes in our minds is “sting.”  What do you do when you hear about attracting a swarm of bees being a real competition? We’ll leave you to figure that out by yourself.

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The only safety materials that participants use are a pair of glasses, nose plugs, and shorts (of course) for safety. We don’t think that’s safe enough. What if the bees manage to get into the shorts. There’s bound to be a world of pain in that region. The winner is the contestant with the heaviest swarm of bees on their body. This is sure not for the faint-hearted.

Cockroach Racing

If you have ever thought that cockroaches are smelly, frustrating, and useless, you might want to think again. Here is a competition that puts cockroaches to athletic use. If you have ever tried to catch these little creatures, you’d know how swiftly they can glide across the floor or wall of a room. So, why not make athletes out of them?

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The competition started in Australia back in 1982 before it spread to other parts of the world. It seems like children would do this as a sport when they are bored. You can’t imagine what people would do in the name of competitions. Every human participant comes into the match after paying an entry fee, then a large number of cockroaches are released.

Rolling in the Grits Contest

Grits are a cornmeal-based cuisine that is an all-time favorite in the city of St. George in South Carolina. This area is known to be the largest consumer of grits in the south. The population of about 2000 people has wholly made a sport of grits in more ways than one. The competition lasts for about seven days, and the residents seem to enjoy it thoroughly.

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Contestants take about 10 seconds to gather grits and fill them in their clothes. They are also weighed just before they get immersed in the sea of grits. After the 10 seconds have elapsed, they are weighed again. This is why most people often wear baggy clothes to partaking in the competition. The more grits you can accumulate, the more you get to go home with.

World Pancake Racing Championships

Pancakes are delicious and lovable. They’re easy to eat and prepare, but chefs have often talked about how difficult it is to flip them.  This is where the pancake competition becomes competitive. Can you run and flip pancakes in a frying pan at the same time? We’d like to see you try!

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Yes, the pancake must not fall out of the pan in the process, and for you to be counted as a winner, you must do it successfully before reaching the finish line. The team members pass the frying pan to each other at different points in the race, and the team that crosses the line first is the champion.

World Championship Diving

For most people, basic diving is quite dangerous in itself, let alone in a competition. The stakes are often higher; thus the perfect dive must come with its level of risk, and the contestants’ ability to surmount those risks is what makes them a winner.

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It receives a lot of attention from the public media. People seem to enjoy watching the contestants throw themselves off a ledge and twisting their bodies in a way that makes you feel like their bones would break before they land in the water.

The World Egg Throwing Championship

Aren’t eggs meant to be cared for because of their fragile nature? We have, however, seen some scenes in which people enjoyed a bit of fun while throwing eggs at each other. This next competition was first held in 2006, and it takes place every year on Swanton Vintage Day.

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There are a variety of small categories of competitions where people partake in egg-throwing in the competition. It can involve a relay competition between teams of eleven people who pass eggs from one end to another. They also partake in the national Russian egg roulette, to name a couple.

Chessboxing Amateur World Championship

As if playing chess or fighting in boxing matches as individual competitions are not challenging enough, but the two put together are pretty explosive. Think about it. Only someone in their right mind can play chess successfully while concentrating. How about playing chess after taking a few blows to the head.

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It is a competition where your physical and mental capabilities are tested. It is still a pretty new competition, but it has grown in fame within a short timeframe. It has gained worldwide attention with more than 100 fighters from countries like the US, France, Russia, and Germany.

Swamp Soccer World Championships

This competition is one for the skiers, but this time, it’s not on the ice. It simply involves playing football in the swamp. It has been defined as a sweet combo of both swamp athletics and soccer. According to what we heard about its origins, it was created while skiers often trained in swaps to improve their adaptability to their environment and build endurance.

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The competition has been running for decades since its inception in 1998. Its participants have grown gradually to over a thousand per year. It consists of about 200 teams from all over the world. They receive proper accommodation at the Ukkohalla ski and sports resort.

Cell Phone Throwing

Another weird competition, observable from Finland once again! Tell these people you could throw stones, discs, bottles, spears, javelin. But why cell phones? How does any of this make sense? To them, cell phone throwing is just a regular throwing competition.

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Well, you guessed right! It can’t be that they are throwing real phones. The phones used are non-functional phones. The longer your throw and the efficiency of it will make you liable for a winner’s spot. Since it is a phone throwing competition, you can imagine what the top prize would be.

Naki Sumo – Baby Crying Competition

Since when does crying become a competition? Baby crying at that! Sumo competitions often give you the image of two fat men with their hair in a sort of bun at the back of their heads grappling at each other. That’s what we thought when we came across this competition. We were equally as alarmed as you are right now.

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It is a competition between two babies who are held by two sumo wrestlers in what is a very short event. The first baby to cry wins the contest. Why does the one who cries get to win? It is believed that the cry of a baby can ward off the Oni (evil spirits). Weird or not?!

Cotswold Olimpick Games

The Cotswold Olimpick Games is an old competition that has existed for over 400 years. You can’t help but wonder how people have been able to keep track, especially since the 407th anniversary was celebrated in 2019. There has been no notable change since it was established.

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It comprises a variety of competitions that are held in the Dover’s hill arena. This space has been its home since its conception. Talk about a match that’s preserved from generation to generation. Some of the rather exciting events in the games include shin-kicking competitions, running races, and Tug O’ War.

Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence 3,100-Mile Race

This could be the race of a lifetime, given its reputation as the longest mile run in the world. It is one of spiritual significance, mainly to help one find peace within oneself. It was created back in 1996 by Sri Chinmoy first as a 2700-mile race, but it was extended to 3100 miles as time passed.

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The race spans over 52 days, during which participants are expected to overcome all sense of desire and achieve self-awareness. It occurs between June to August. The participants are expected to run for at least 59.6 miles per day. A few contestants are chosen to run from about six a.m until midnight.

Baby Jumping Competition

We have already seen a baby crying competition, and here is another one involving babies as well. If you thought the first one was weird, we don’t know what you’d think of this one. It makes you wonder what kind of parents would let their babies participate in something like this.

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The number of babies is laid out in rows, and the contestant dresses up looking like El Colacho (a Spanish icon). They attempt to leap over the babies. What if the babies get hurt? Well, don’t ask us. The competition has been in practice since 1620 as part of a catholic feast in Burgos (which is a village, by the way). The villagers sure don’t see anything wrong with it.


This competition is thought to have arisen from the nail Olympics about 20 years ago. We are not talking about iron nails here; it is more of a fashion competition. There is a lot of pride behind it, as with any competition of British origin.

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About 354 competitors from more than 24 countries in the world come together after years of training to compete and for the top spot in the Nailympia Global Cup. It has about 14 categories on which each contestant is evaluated. At the end of it, the winner goes home with a trophy and a cash prize as well as a notable feature in a top magazine.

Cheese Rolling Championship

More than a thousand cheese lovers partake in this competition in Gloucestershire, England. It is a holiday event that holds during the Spring bank holiday. The greatest highlight of the event is when a 9-pound wheel made of cheese is rolled at a high speed of about 70 miles per hour.

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There is no entry fee required to enter the competition, and there is no restriction as anybody can take part. Contestants are expected to run after the spinning wheel of cheese. Finally, something fun to do with cheese aside from eating it, don’t you think?

World Toe-Wrestling Championships

Ah-ha! Arm and regular wrestling just don’t cut it for some people. For the last 45 years, it has become an English tradition to engage in the World Toe-Wrestling Championship. It might not be an Olympic grade competition, but those that love it do not seem to mind. If arm wrestling is possible, why not go at it with our toes?

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What happens here is that the wrestlers square off barefoot. Their toes are locked, and the scuffle begins as it does in arm wrestling to try and get their opponent’s foot to lie on its side. The hands have to be kept flat on the ground and should in no way be used to gain an unfair advantage. We imagine that it can be quite an interesting game to watch.

The Tunarama Festival

This is one for fish lovers, Tuna to be exact, and no, you won’t be catching fish in this competition. If you have always been interested in seafood, you might find this fascinating. The goal of the competition is simple. The winner is determined based on how far one can toss a frozen tuna.

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In the early years of the competition, participants often throw real frozen tuna, but the tune has changed due to their diminishing population. Synthetic tuna fishes are now being used in the competition. One of the festival’s main attractions is the imperial collection of fresh seafood that will be quite attractive to those who enjoy seafood.

The Bubble Baba Challenge

This is another weird reckless competition. It started back in 2003. It involves a boat competition where participants attempt to paddle over the Russian River. Seems like a normal competition, right? Wait till you see what they use to make the boats they use.

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“You don’t have to throw away your dolls again. Simply tie them up and use them as a boat.”  That must have been the thought of the person who created it. This is a competition that sees about 1000 contestants every year since 2011. The party was thought to have risen out of the experiment by a couple of pretty high people while partying.

World Championship Punkin Chunkin

Participants in this next competition compete by trying to fling a pumpkin. The championship coincides with the harvesting period of Pumpkin, which is during Autumn. Users make use of items of their choice to propel the pumpkin. You can find them using items such as catapults, trebuchets, slingshots, and other mechanical apparatus that can serve the purpose.

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For a competition of its nature, it hosts about 100 teams from several countries, thus making it an international competition. It is split into categories for both children and adults.  From what we have heard, the competition is pretty exciting.

Extreme Ironing

This competition was created in the dying moments of the 20th century (1997 to be precise). If house chores could become a sport, why not ironing? This is some activity that many people hate, but it seems some enthusiasts of that aspect of laundry take it too far.

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The competition is nothing like what you’d imagine. It is a combination of rock climbing and regular ironing. Extreme ironing was born and promoted across several nations. Many people from all over the world gather together to partake and support the competition. It was aired in a British documentary which further boosted its reputation.

World Worm-Charming Championships

We’ve heard of snake charming, but worm charming takes a different turn. Snake charming is deemed a reckless competition and somewhat restricted to certain cultural settings. However, worm charming is popular among participants who come into Williamston county from several parts of the world.

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It is unclear how the competition started, but according to reports, it started when students of the local school stomped on the soil to dig out the worms that were numerous beneath the surface. What follows is a series of frantic actions to attract or charm the worms.

17th Street High Heel Race

Racing across the street in high heels? That sounds like a good idea! Let us make it a competition. As the name suggests, we don’t get how this gets to be an athletic competition in Washington, D.C. The winner is the first racer to make it to 17th street wearing high heels.

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It has been in existence since 1986, and it has been reported that it originates from a much shorter sprint which was witnessed between a steakhouse and a bar back in the days. It is not your regular daytime competition since it’s held at about 9 p.m.

Battle of the Oranges

The origin of this battle contains a pretty emotional story that stretches as far back as 1808.  It celebrates a revolution against a city tyrant who reportedly attempted to assault a maiden, but she overpowered and decapitated him instead, and this weakened his grip on the city. The people arose and destroyed the palace.

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Well, I am not sure how that story relates to a food fight, but given the large scale of the competition, it somehow speaks for the passion of the people who overthrew the tyrant. Think of this as a food fight, but with fruits, oranges to be specific. About 500,000 pounds of fruits are thrown around in what has been touted as the biggest food fight in the world.

World Body Painting

Body painting is not exactly a new thing. It is a pretty beautiful style of art that is awe-inspiring. The World Body Painting competition involves highly skilled body painters and designers from different parts of the world coming together to showcase their skills. They display their work of art on the body of a contestant.

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Held in Austria, this competition is renowned for attracting both developing and experienced artists who are excited about showing off what they can do best. If you are someone who appreciates art or you can do some bodypainting of your own, we can recommend that you go sightseeing or partake in this competition.

Cow Chip Tossing Championship

The cow patty tossing competition is a fun but rather bizarre event that has also gained renowned attention in some parts of the world. People gather in Texas to partake in the competition and win prizes. The competition is literally about throwing dried cow or buffalo manure through a certain distance. Ew, right?

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The person that throws the patty the farthest is crowned as the winner. It is categorized for men, women, and children, and a winner is chosen for each category. If you see yourself swinging in that direction, the competition is held in April every year in Texas.

International Cherry Pit-Spitting Championship

Cherry spitting? Who would have thought that could become a real competition that hundreds of people would take great pride in doing. The Cherry Pit-spitting championship has gone international, having been a real attraction to people. The competition is often held mid-year in July.

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In its own way, it is a challenging competition as it can be quite tricky for people to fire cherry pits from their mouths continuously. It is of cultural significance as it is used to mark the successful harvest of tart cherries. The last known version of this competition was held in Michigan.

World Santa Championship

Also known as Clauwau, the competition is a major Santa Claus-themed event. It is one for the Christmas festivities. The contests are sure to inspire your childhood memories of Santa Claus fantasies. It takes place at the same time as renowned Swiss resorts open up in the winter.

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Tourists at the events also take a tour of the restaurants and shop at the malls in the area. You can also obtain tickets to the nearby railway and enjoy a wonderful time in the area. It’s during the holidays and a perfect time to enjoy the ClauWau with your friends and family.

World Stone Skimming Championship

The stone skimming competition is another one that started as a mere joke but became a real thing. It started at a bar in Scotland and is held every year in the country. It is different from stone skipping on the water’s surface.

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With hundreds of stone skimmers who hail from multiple countries, the game has a considerable following with thousands of spectators. It is a serious and popular competition with real champions of its own who set world records. It has been reported that some contestants might become record holders in the Guinness book of records.

Dakar Rally

This next one is quite popular in the world of car racing. The Dakar Rally is one of the most dangerous and dirty sports competitions. The terrains and roads are difficult and not for a poorly skilled driver. According to reports, more than 50 lives have met their end while participating in this crazy competition.

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If you have ever watched any movie in the Mad Max movie franchise, this rally shouldn’t be strange to you. After all, the film birthed the idea of the competition, albeit without all the crazy weapons and explosives. That would be a little over the top. It is a highly successful competition that has existed for over 40 years.

Air Guitar Competitions

We don’t know just how this competition came into being, but it sure seems like something we have all done out of fascination for our favorite individual musician or band. Air Guitar involves assuming a pose of a guitar player and acting all macho playing the imaginary instrument. It is a pleasant mix of acting skills and a love of rock and roll.

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It hails from Finland as part of a music video festival back in 1996. It has spread to the United States of America, where it is being held every year. The winner is crowned with a world title in Finland. Why not get a real guitar and get your groove on?

Monkey Buffet Festival

A monkey buffet? Now, that’s new! When you hear buffet festival you think about a lot of food and you might be thinking of several kinds of delicacies that you might get to eat. Delete that weird thought that just crossed your mind; it is not a monkey-eating buffet competition.

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One thing is certain about the festival. There is a lot of food provided for monkeys. Monkeys are the celebrities in this competition as they are fed a sumptuous variety of delicacies, ranging from cooked rice to desserts. The chefs spend an awful lot of time preparing these meals.

World Bog Snorkeling Championship

To snorkel means to splash around inside of the water. That sounds pretty normal, right? This competition makes it to our weird list. Participants put on several ridiculous costumes before they attempt to swim through a muddy bog or marsh.

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To make it more exciting, the competition has been transformed into a sort of triathlon. Before participants swim through the bog, they may have to partake in a bike ride and a 5-mile run. The entire distance covered in the competition may be well over 20 miles.

Rock Paper Scissors League

Aside from being something we did a lot as kids, adults have often counted on rock paper scissors as a way to make tough decisions. You know, if you have to choose who gets to do or try something and you are at an impasse, you may decide to let the winner of a short session of rock paper scissors do what needs to be done.

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As we have seen with most of the competitions in this article, it is a pretty serious one. It has a league of its own with a cash prize attached to compensate the winner. The winner gets about $50,000. A referee strictly monitors it as players use different tactics, mathematics, and psychological antics to beat opponents.

International Beauty Industry Awards

This competition was designed to celebrate the craft of beauty artisans. The competition takes pride in creating a functional platform for recognizing the works of gifted individuals in the fashion industry. The organizers meticulously select worthy artisans by strictly observing their works rather than their online profiles or products.

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It is accessible for even the least experienced artisan who can enroll by simply registering on their online platform with pictures of themselves. The competition has recognized hundreds of artisans per year from different parts of the world. If you are highly skilled in beauty artistry, you can try this out.

Underwater Hockey World Championships

The underwater hockey competition is a militarily innovated sport invented by the British Navy. It was primarily used as training for divers to ensure that they were in peak condition. Now, it is much more than that with the attention it has attracted in over 20 countries worldwide.

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A team of divers comprises six members; all kitted up with gloves, diving masks, snorkels, and small sticks for playing hockey. It is not so different in principle from its parent competition: field and ice hockey. Each team must gather points by hitting the puck into the goal of the opposition.