Want to win a worldwide competition, but aren’t too good at any of the things that might get you in the Olympics or other major sporting events? Well then, perhaps you could try your hand at one of these odd specialty competitions.
Rock, Paper, Scissors
Yes, that game you used to solve all your best childhood disputes has actually earned not only one world championship tournament, but a few. The most famous of the RPS tournaments is the one hosted by the Rock Paper Scissors Society, which developed a standardized set of rules in 2002. Winners of the games receive fairly large cash prizes, often around $10,000.
Budweiser sponsored the first International Rock, Paper, Scissors Federation Championship after the closing of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. A similar world championship event took place after the 2012 London Olympics.
USARPS Head Referee Phil Gordon also sponsors a worldwide championship, the World Series of Rock Paper Scissors, which is head in conjunction with the World Series of Poker championships every year since 2005. Aside from a $500 prize, the winner also gets to participate in the World Series of Poker.
Of course, if you weren’t very good at rock, paper, scissors, there are other childhood skills can still earn you a world championship. For example, you could always try your hand at the Four Square World Championships that occur annually in Bridgton, Maine. Athletes from as far as Israel have been known to fly out to the match to try to win the title of best Four Squarer –well, at least it’s a better title than being the “Mayor” of your local bar with your Four Square app.
When you were a youngster, did you care more about how far your stones went or how many bounces they made when you skipped them? Because your answer will affect which of the two stone skipping championships you would be more interested in.
You see, the annual event sponsored by the North America Stone Skipping Association focuses on how many times the stone skips before it sinks in the water, while the World Stone Skimming Championships that take place in Easdale, Scotland are only concerned with the distance the stones travel. If you’re wondering which one is more official, well, Guinness tracks the number of times a stone skips and more people attend those events, so it sounds like NASSA is on the right side for the most part. But really, it all comes down to a person’s natural skill and interests in the different aspects of stone throwing.
The World Sauna Championships were held every year from 1999 until 2010, but they were cancelled after one participant died and another participant nearly died in the last tournament. While all competitors were asked to sign a document stating that they understood the risks and would not take action against the organizers, should something happen, no one involved wanted to be responsible for the death of a participant.
As for how the competition worked, well, it was basically an endurance contest. Whoever lasted the longest in the 230 degree sauna would win the round and the tournament lasted four rounds.
Mobile Phone Throwing
If you had your heart set on visiting Finland solely to check out a bizarre world championship event, well, you might not be able to watch men competitively sauna any more, but you can still check out the Mobile Phone Throwing World Championships, which have been an annual tradition in Savonlinna since 2000. There are two categories adult contestants may compete in, a purely distance-based event and an event based on your throwing choreography and style. There is also a category for child participants and a team event, although I don’t know how you turn throwing a cell phone into an act that requires more than one person.
While the event may sound incredibly wasteful, it’s usually sponsored by phone recycling companies and participants usually compete to throw their old, broken cell phones in the hopes of winning a new, improved mobile phone.
Arm wrestling is so mainstream these days. For those that really want to do something unique, yet challenging toe wrestling is the way to go. To toe wrestle, you need to place your foot flat against your competitors and link your big toes together. Like arm wrestling, you then try to force the competitor into submission. I wonder if making your foot as nasty, stinky and covering it in contagious fungus before a competition is against the rules because while it would be gross, it certainly seems like a good way to win.
Don’t worry, while you probably wouldn’t want to take your boss to one of the competitions, the basic concept is pretty safe for work –particularly because the rules require that all climaxes must be simulated and most contestants keep all of their clothes on. Other than that, competitors have two minutes to act out a sex scene with at least one imaginary person. Some people set up a meeting, introduction and romance, while others dive right into their impression of doing the nasty. Judges critique the contestants based on their foreplay, intercourse and their sexual energy.
The Alamo Drafthouse is responsible for the World Championships that have taken place since 2009. They travel to 14 cities throughout the U.S. and award a winner from each town. Then the champions get together for the championship match in Los Angeles.
That’s football in the European sense (soccer to Americans) played in a bog or swamp. Originally the physically demanding sport was developed as an exercise for athletes and soldiers because it took so much strength, but eventually the sport became popular in its own right. There are around 260 swamp football teams around the world and the championship is played in the Vuorisuo bog in Hyrynsalmi, Finland.
While you might question the player’s motivation for playing a sport in a swamp, at least you can’t question their athleticism.
Can’t get enough swamp sports? Then head to the Waen Rhydd peat bog, near Llanwrtyd Wells in mid Wales. There you can catch the World Bog Snorkleling Championship, where competitors will swim twice through a 60 yard trench cut in a peat bog while wearing snorkels and flippers. Usual swimming strokes are not allowed, instead competitors must use their flippers to do all the swimming for them. The swimmer with the fastest time wins.
Sumo Suit Athletics
While you might be inclined to think this is a mock-sumo wrestling contest with competitors donning sumo suits, it’s actually far stranger. Instead, athletes competing in the Sumo Suit Athletics World Championships compete in standard athletic challenges, including a 100 meter sprint, the long jump, the high jump, shot put and a 400 meter endurance race –all while wearing a sumo suit for some reason.
Well, Neatonauts, would you actually go watch any of these? And, if you absolutely had to compete in one of the events, which would you chose? I’d go with the stone skipping because it was something I always enjoyed. Lastly, if you know of any other weird world championships I left out, feel free to tell us about them in the comments.