1. World Worm-Charming Championships
image source: cornwalllive.com
Ever thought about getting down in the dirt and enticing worms to the surface? No? Well, that's exactly what this competition in Cheshire, England, asks participants to do. Everyone gets the same sized plot of field (three metres squared), and the goal is to get as many worms to come to the surface as possible. If you've never tried this before, it's actually relatively simple to charm worms: some people use music to vibrate the earth to get them to come up, while others pat the soil with implements. And the record for worm charming? That was set in 2009 when one lucky participant managed to charm 567 worms!
2. World Championship Death Diving
image source: ndtv.com
Death diving is basically a fancier word for the humble belly flop. Yep, in this competition, people compete to do the best belly flop into the water, starting from a 10-15 metre platform. The World Championships are held in Norway every year, and draw thousands of fans who want to take an impressive belly flop into the water. There's some skill to this, though - the flop has to be adjusted into a fetal position just before hitting the water to prevent competitors from getting serious injuries from hitting the water head-on in the belly flop position.
3. Wife Carrying Championship
image source: radseason.com
This weird competition originated in Finland, where there are tales of Ronkainen the Robber who may have started a trend of abducting women from neighboring villages and carrying them off on his shoulders. It's not a happy story, but it's evolved since then into a well-loved event that now boasts competitions all around the world, as well as the original one in Sonkajärvi, Finland. Competitors usually choose from a couple of popular methods of carrying their female partner, including a fireman's carry, the classic piggyback, and a rather risky manoeuvre where the 'wife' hangs upside down with her legs around her partner's neck.
4. World Beard and Moustache Championships
image source: nbcnews.com
This one isn't necessarily weird - we all know someone who takes good care of their beard of moustache. However, the results of this competition are really mind-blowing. We guarantee you haven't seen such impressive beard and moustache art as at this competition, which is held every two years around the world. As well as different events for beards and moustaches, there are also lots of different categories for facial hair, including goatees, English moustaches, sideburns, Garibaldi beards, and a freestyle category for all styles.
5. Bee-Wearing Competition
image source: theguardian.com
Fancy giving this one a go? We didn't think so - it's got to be one of the most shocking and fear-inducing competitions held around the world. A famous bee-wearing competition is held annually in China, where competitors have an hour to attract as many bees onto their body as possible. The beekeepers use queen bees that they've reared themselves to attract other bees onto their body, and it's the weight of all those bees that's most impressive - it can reach almost 30 kg of bees! Competitors usually compete almost totally naked as well, with just swim goggles and special nose implements so they can still breathe.
6. Cell Phone Throwing
image source: alonereaders.com
We've all felt that burning desire to throw our phone when we get frustrated. A messy text, an urge to call our ex - we just want to chuck it as far as we can. Well, at this Finnish competition, you can let all your pent-up rage out on your cellphone! If you're worried about genuinely damaging your cellphone, don't worry - there are free phones for you to choose from for your throw. And if you fancy beating the record, it currently stands at 110m and 42cm - an incredibly impressive distance for a humble phone.
image source: nailympia.com
Nailympia is the Olympics of nail art. Running every year in locations around the world including London, Anaheim, and Mexico, it attracts nail artists from all around the world who want to pit their skills against the best in the world. Competitors are asked to check their kit carefully before the event, and pack early - you need to bring everything for world-class nail art with you, and you don't want to get there and realize you've forgotten something! There are different categories depending on your skillset, from fantasy looks to realistic art and gel polish manicures.
8. Great Knaresborough Bed Race
image source: visitharrogate.co.uk
If you like watching the Red Bull Soapbox Racing, this is a competition for you. Every year in the picturesque town of Knaresborough, in Yorkshire, England, competitors gather with their homemade 'beds' to race them through rivers and woods. One person on each time is designated as the bed sitter, who keeps morale up by shouting while in their perch, while the four other (suitably mad!) team members drag the bed through a 2.4 mile course that ends with a gruelling river rush. And if you don't fancy joining, it's certainly a bucket list spectacle to see.
9. World Bog Snorkeling Championship
image source: walesonline.co.uk
We're staying in the UK for this weird competition. Every year, people descend on the tiny Welsh town of Llanwrtyd Wells for the annual bog snorkeling championships - a race to the end of a 60m, filled with slime and mud. There are also other athletic events incorporating the bog race, including a triathlon for hardier participants. However, it's the bog race that people come for - and if they want to beat the record, they'll have to swim quicker than the incredible time of 1 minute and 18 seconds!
10. World Pea-Shooting Championships
image source: calendarcustoms.com
We promise we're not making this one up - there really is a pea-shooting competition! They've been held in Cambridgeshire, England since 1971, and today draw competitors from all over the world who want their chance to shoot a pea at ridiculous speeds. Everyone has the chance to design their own pea shooter - the only restrictions are that it has to be no more than 12 inches long. So, if you're an engineering whizz, maybe give this one a go next year?
11. Gurning World Championships
image source: bbc.co.uk
If you're not sure what gurning is, we've got you. Gurning is English slang for pulling a ridiculous face, and it started in the 1920s at at the Egremont Crab Fair, named after a sour apple. Typically, a good gurning face requires the jaw to come up and cover the top lip, which is what you'll notice the men are doing in the photo above. The world champion gurner to beat is Tommy Mattinson, who has won the Gurning World Championships an incredible 16 times! Maybe it's time to get practicing in your bathroom mirror?
12. Swamp Soccer World Championships
image source: nokiantyres.com
Now, we think soccer is a difficult enough sport without adding a swamp into the mix. But thousands of people attend the Swamp Soccer World Championships every year in Hyrynsalmi, Finland (those Finns really know how to put together a weird competition!) To compete, you naturally need to have a good level of fitness, but there's also the requirement that you don't mind getting a little muddy - this might be one of the dirtiest competitions on this list! But thankfully for everyone who can't get their head around football rules, the offside rule doesn't exist in swamp soccer.
13. International Cherry Pit-Spitting Championship
image source: voanews.com
Like the pea-shooting championship, the cherry pit spitting championship is one that will attract a very niche audience. The competition in Eau Claire, Michigan, was launched in 1974 as an advertisement for the Tree-mendus Fruit Farm. But what was initially just a novelty advertisement for a small fruit farm grew into a world-class sport. And though the Michigan championships ended in 2019 when the farm was sold, there are other cherry spitting competitions around the world, including in Canada and Western Australia.
14. 17th Street High Heel Race
image source: metroweekly.com
How good are you in heels? We don't mean just walking through a dingy club (though even that can seem like an Olympic sport at times) but actually running in them. Well, you can prove your skills at the 17th street high heel race, a drag competition which has been held in Washington DC since Halloween 1986. Today, the race is held annually on the Tuesday before Halloween, and attracts drag queens from across the US. As well as being a traditional running race, the competition is also a large pageant, with queens showing off their elaborate costumes to the supporters.
15. The Tunarama Festival
image source: portlincoln.com.au
That's tuna-rama, if you didn't know: an annual competition to fling a tuna as far as possible. Don't worry, animal rights activists, the tuna is 10kg rubber copy of a real tuna, which replaced the frozen fish that was used until 2008. There are men's and women's categories so everyone has a chance to take part, and today it's a staple of the community calendar in Port Lincoln, South Australia. The world record was set in 1988 when Olympic athlete Sean Carlin threw the tuna 37.23 metres, almost back into the ocean!
16. The Bubble Baba Challenge
image source: wikimedia.org
If you want to see a weird event, just head to the Vuoksi River in Russia. Here, every year, contestants swim in the freezing waters with just one flotation device allowed - a sex doll! The event started in 2003 when the organizer made a joke at a party where none of the women who were invited showed up, and since then has ballooned into an actual competition. The other requirements are that participants must pass an alcohol test before the race - although it might seem fun to do drunk, it's still a major test of fitness!
17. The World Sauna Championships
image source: foxnews.com
This weird competition was held from 1999 to 2010 in Finland - where else? The competition pitted people against each other to see how long they could last in a sauna. Normally, this wouldn't be too big a challenge - most saunas run at about 150F-175F, and it's possible to spend a while in there enjoying the relaxation. However, the saunas in this competition were set at 230F - a huge increase. In the end, the event proved dangerous - in 2010, a Russian man died while competing, and it hasn't been held since. For the dramatic reason for its demise, though, this deserves to still be on the list - and who knows if unlicensed events are still running in Finland?
18. Totnes Orange Races
image source: calendarcustoms.com
Yes - this competition is as simple as racing oranges down a hill. But there's some history to it. Legend has it that Sir Francis Drake bumped into someone carrying a basket of oranges in Totnes, England, sending the fruit careening down the hill. At the time, oranges were a bit of a novelty, and seeing a tonne of oranges rolling down the hill sent the town's children racing after them. Whether this is true or not, every year the town comes out to race their oranges down a hill - and kicking is allowed if it helps you get ahead.
19. Cooper's Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake
image source: theatlantic.com
We reckon you've probably heard of this world-famous competition. Held in Gloucester, England, people race a roll of cheese down a deceptively steep hill in the centre of the village. The cheese itself is a Double Gloucester (obviously), and it can reach speeds of 70 miles per hour, meaning it's basically a death wish for anyone who gets hit by it. But good luck getting down there to the finish line without falling over - the man who's won this competition 23 times has suffered from a broken wrist, a bruised kidney and a concussion!
20. The Self-Transcendence 3,100 Mile Race
image source: mybestruns.com
This race is certified the longest footrace in the world, and that's because it can last up to a few weeks! However, it's not like you'll be covering a lot of physical distance in that time, and that's because participants simply run laps of the same block in Queens, New York, which is just 883m. You have to run from 6am to midnight every day, and get just 6 hours to sleep and rest over the course of 24 hours. Not to mention, there's a limit of 52 days to complete the 3,100 mile race - so you could be doing this for over a month unless you can speed your running up.
21. Underwater Hockey World Championships
image source: wikimedia.org
Underwater hockey has grown to a worldwide sport, necessity the creation of the world championships in 1980. If you've never watched underwater hockey before, it's a hockey-like game where two teams compete to push a puck into an underwater goal. Originally called octopush, the world championships are held in July every year around the world, attracting thousands of players who now play at the highest level. In 2013, there were 68 teams from 19 different countries competing in the world championships - a lot for such a small sport.
image source: fodors.com
Now, Clau Wau may not make much sense to you: but what if we said World Championship of Santa Clauses? This competition is actual an event that heralds the opening of the ski season in Samnaun, Switzerland. Santa Clauses can come all dressed up and ready to test their skills in events like climbing, snowmobiling, and racing sleds. Now, we don't really know if Santa Claus has done any of these activities in his career, but whoever wins the contest is crowned the best Santa Claus anyway. Sadly, as of this year the ClauWau is no more - but you can try your hand at the resort's next competition, the Smuggler's Trophy.
23. World Toe-Wrestling Championships
image source: slate.com
Arm-wrestling championships? Sure. Thumb-wrestling? Yeah, okay. But toe-wrestling? That's a new one. Yet every year Derbyshire, England holds the world toe-wrestling championships, where it was invented in 1974. Most participants will explain that it's just like arm wrestling, with a special podium for your feet during matches, and that it's quite dangerous - you can even succumb to broken toes if you go too hard! One participant even got his big toenail removed to make matches easier, which is taking competitive advantage a little bit far.
24. Battle of the Oranges
image source: backpackersintheworld.com
Ever wanted to violently chuck oranges at other people? Then this is the competition for you! The Battle of the Oranges draws people to the Italian town of Ivrea every year, where participants are split into nine teams across the town and compete to throw oranges at each other, which can get pretty violent. Essentially, what occurs is a food fight on an epic scale - and you don't want to get an orange chucked directly at your head. If you're really worried, there are safety areas erected around the town for people who just want to get a taste for the violence. Or, you can step into the heat of the battlefield.
25. Extreme Ironing
image source: reddit.com
Now, this one is definitely a kind-of competition, even though it's hard to tell who's actually won. In the world of extreme ironing, people compete to iron their clothes in the craziest places possible, which can include: while skydiving, while hanging off the site of a cliff, while wakeboarding, while underwater. The opportunities are endless - even if it is a pretty weird thing to be doing. It was apparently invented in 1997 in England by someone who needed to do the ironing but really wanted to get out and go rock climbing. So, what did he do? Combine both!
26. Rolling in the Grits Contest
image source: atlasobscura.com
If you like the idea of getting food all over you like the Battle of the Oranges, then this is another weird competition that might appeal. In the annual Rolling in the Grits contest, participants must dive into a swimming pool full of grits and have 10 seconds to get as much of the food on their bodies as possible. Held in St. George, South Carolina, it's grown from a novelty idea to a giant three-day celebration of grits - and there's more to the competition than you think. By wearing extra-baggy clothing, you can trap more grits than others and steal the crown.
27. Naki Sumo – Baby Crying Competition
image source: youtube.com
This competition surely takes the trophy for the longest-held competition on this list - the Naki Sumo Festival has probably been held for over 400 years. The competition is this: two sumo wrestlers stand in a ring holding a baby each. The first baby to cry is the winner, and these sumo wrestlers often try to encourage the baby in their arms to cry by making weird faces at them! Folklore says that a crying baby can ward of evil spirits, which is why this festival has been practiced for so long.
28. The Jungle Marathon
image source: worldsmarathons.com
So, we've seen an ultra marathon held on a block in Queen's, but this one is probably more unique. The Jungle Marathon is a 230km/143 mile race through Manu National Park in Peru. The racetrack goes through dense, and sometimes impenetrable jungle in the Amazon, and all participants have to use their own devices to get through it, no help from anyone else. Though there are camps with clean water at various checkpoints, challenges will still be mostly alone through the 8-day race. It's a gruelling competition, and not for the faint of heart.
29. World Championship Punkin Chunkin
image source: usatoday.com
If you're not sure what punkin chunkin is, let's translate it for you: that's pumpkin chucking! And that means: how far can you throw a pumpkin? Not on your own, of course, but with the help of some big implements. These can include air cannons, slingshots, and trebuchets. The world championship punkin chunkin event held in Delaware looks more like the site of a giant battle than a novelty competition, with huge devices lined up to launch their pumpkins as far as possible. Other competitions are held around the world, including one in Utah where the world record for a pumpkin toss was beaten in 2010.
30. Cockroach Racing
image source: worldkings.org
Cockroach racing is actually a staple of Australia Day celebrations in Brisbane, Australia. Instead of simply drinking and partying, people gather to watch cockroaches race to the edge of a ring. The tradition started when a barman in Brisbane boasted that his cockroaches were the fastest, and a rival wanted to test that claim. Even if it's a little gross, the event gathers hundreds of people every year to watch roaches called things like Priscila-Queen of the Drains and Cocky Dundee take the title of fastest.