WTF Contests


Written by Tshepo Mokoena
Photos and illustrations by Reuters, Various
21 Thursday 21st July 2011

Since we have got a whole year to go until the 2012 Olympics hit our fair city, we've been itching for a good spot of competition. And no, the Golf US Open last weekend just isn't cutting it. Instead we've noticed a whole stream of weird and undeniably wonderful contests cropping up all over the world, in these lazy summer months of idle time. If you're not working over the summer surely taking a bit of time out to perfect your shin-kicking or bee-wearing skills isn't too much of an ask? Here are some of the best competitions to cross our radar this week. Add more you've heard of (or participated in) in the comments section!

First up: The World's Ugliest Dog
This one may not be the most thorough, since it only seems to take place in the US, but it's still a pretty damn good place to start. Each year the Sonoma Marin Fair in California opens up its gates to an army of the least attractive dogs and proceeds to judge them. Like some kind of inverse beauty pageant, the World’s Ugliest Dog® Contest has scores of the most unfortunate-looking breeds and cross-breeds paraded across a stage while applauded and cheered on for looking so rank. 
Often the dogs taking place have been abandoned by more vain former owners, and their current caretakers see it as a chance for them to be celebrated. This year's winner, Yoda, is half Chihuahua and half Chinese crested and her owner gets to pocket a sweet £1000 for the win. Not bad.
Shin-Kickers, Boot Up
If something more physical is your thing, each year a hill at Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire, becomes the stomping ground for the Cotswold Olimpick games. Since its start in 1612, the games have looked to make the healthy competitive spirit a vital part of community life, with the games taking place every Friday after the Spring Bank Holiday. Just in case you missed this year's, here's a taste of the shin-kicking segment. With hay stuffed into their trouser legs, good boots for kicking strapped onto their feet and lab coats on (not sure why that last one's necessary, but we can't mess with tradition here) the shin-kicking commences. First to double over in pain loses, I guess.
Wife-Carrying vs Mobile Phone-Throwing
Now that's how you throw a mobile phone
When it comes to the realm of bizarre contests, Scandinavia pretty much comes out on top. Home to both the mobile-throwing and wife-carrying contests, Finland is particularly a nation to watch (or visit) for a taste of the oddest competitions. You'll be glad to hear there are no doping tests done at the phone-throwing shindig each year, but of course you can be disqualified if you're attempting to hurl a Nokia while obviously under the influence. Kids can join in too, with a juniors’ competition: day out for the family, no?
Wife-carrying in action
The original wife-carrying contest also comes from Finland but now has branches in Surrey, New Zealand, America as well as the World Wife-Carrying Championships. The premise? Carry your wife around a ridiculous obstacle course/race on your shoulders, back or in your arms. Then if you win, you'll both get her weight in beer as a prize. Modest winnings perhaps, but probably the best couple counselling for fit lovers in Finland. 
If those don't quite take your fancy, how about sampling some of these from around the globe? Chinese bee-wearing could be right for the daredevil in you: just remember to keep a cool head or things could get ugly. And there's the World Beard & Moustache Championships held each May (this year in Norway), where the most outrageous handlebar, natural and 'Imperial' moustaches could bag you the top prize.
Queensland report on dwarf tossing
With rather dubious origins (some say Australia, other England or New Zealand) comes dwarf tossing. Be careful with this one, as it's been outlawed in America since 1989, in Canada since 2003 and has a hard-to-pin-down legal status in England. It's a mostly booze-fuelled pub contest where a little person gets thrown from one end of the bar to the other (where a mattress or padded surface awaits). The UN says it's degrading. What say you?
If you know of any other awesome and weird contests we haven't mentioned, throw them in the comments section.

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