5 of the Oddest Competitions Worldwide

“Airplane travel is nature’s way of making you look like your passport photo.”–Al Gore


Odd, but wonderful. If I ever have the chance to see any of these, I will be there in a heartbeat. I’m all about doing something that’s weird or bizarre in some way whether I’m traveling abroad or near to home. While this is by no means a complete list, these are just a few of my favorites that I’ve run across in my research.

1. Gurning

What: Ever make funny faces in pictures with your friends? This is the competition for the best of the best comical face makers. Don’t have teeth? That’s an advantage in this competition. The weirder, the better is the norm, and it makes for one hell of an entertaining day.

Where: Egremont, Cumbria, England.

When: Typically this event takes place as a part of the annual crab festival in September.

2. Bathtub Racing

What: As the name would suggest this peculiar race does not feature sport boats cruising across the water at top speed, but boats made out of, you guessed it, bathtubs. Competitors can be as creative as they want to participate. There are lots of variations on these races, and some have even become motorized and quite speedy while others have stipulations where they must remain human powered.

Where: The most common places to find these are in the UK and British Columbia/Vancouver.

When: These events occur mainly during the summer, and each event has its own set of dates.

3. Cheese Rolling

What: What could be more fun than flinging yourself down a steep hill chasing after a wheel of cheese and trying to beat it to the bottom? I dare you to come up with something that makes me smile as much as this does. (It doesn’t exist).

Where: Cooper’s Hill, England (near Gloucester). Home of the amazingly bizarre traditions. There are even events in the United States, New Zealand, Australia, and Nepal!

When: This annual event used to be managed, but now (in England at least) it is held spontaneously.

4. Pig Calling

What: SOOO-ooeeeyyyyy. Welcome to the American mid-West and South. Hog/pig calling originated as a means to encourage pigs to come towards whoever was making the call for various reasons. Today it is a full-fledged contest that brings out dozens of competitors each year. Please look it up on YouTube. It’s incredible. If traditional hog calling isn’t your cup of tea, never fear. Hip-hop hog calling now exists as well, but it’s unclear if it works on pigs.

Where: Iowa, Illinois, North Carolina boast the most significant gatherings for competitors.

When: This hog wild contest occurs each year at each state’s State Fair in the summer months.

5. Beard Growing

What: Can you grow a beard? Mustache? You’re in luck. There are world championships with all sorts of fancy categories you can enter that beautiful mane you have growing on your face. Ladies don’t sweat the small stuff. Many competitions have fake beard categories where women can compete and show off their imaginations with any beard you can imagine.

Where: Where bigger is better, Texas. The world championships’ locations vary each year, but many large competitions are held in Texas. You can find a contest on almost every continent so get to searching and spruce up that beard.

When: Generally held in the Fall, but competitions occur throughout the year.


Which one was your favorite? Did I miss one of your favorites? Leave me a comment below to let me know, and I’ll feature it in a future post!


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