The West

World of weird sport
Extreme ironing. Picture: Sarah Hipwell/Getty Images/iStockphoto

The Olympic flame may have been extinguished but the sporting diary isn't closed. Here we take a rather different look at the world of competitive endeavour.

These are the favourite 15 unusual "sporting" events of Flight Centre folk who, apart from working in Australia's biggest travel agency, still have time for a bit of fun.

Air guitar

It's a big year of sporting action for the Finns, with the country set to host the Air Guitar World Championships, which are being held in Oulu next week.

Organisers say the purpose of the Air Guitar World Championships is to promote world peace, adding: "According to the ideology of the air guitar, wars would end, climate change stop and all bad things disappear, if all the people in the world played the air guitar. This is why the whole universe is invited to play the air guitar for the world peace at the end of the competition."

Wife carrying

We are not sure how politically correct it is, but the Wife Carrying World Championship is a perennial favourite with the team.

The 2012 championship was held last month in Sonkajarvi, Finland, and was won for the fourth time by a local lawyer and his wife. First prize was the wife's weight in beer.

Wife carrying as sport. Picture: Baltskars/Getty Images/iStockphoto
A similar competition has been held in Australia at the Singleton Countryfest in NSW. Flight Centre's interest was first drawn to wife-carrying when it was asked to sponsor an energetic Australian couple in the early 2000s.

Extreme ironing

In this emerging sport, competitors have to take an iron and ironing board to a remote location and iron items of apparel.

A spokesman for the Flight Centre team says: "Although a world championship was held in Germany in 2002 and attracted competitors from 10 countries, some of the best examples of extreme ironing in recent years have occurred in a more freestyle environment. For example, extreme ironing has taken place underwater in Australia (minus the electricity of course), on ski slopes and even in deserts."

The Extreme Ironing Bureau reports that an Englishman completed the 250km Marathon Des Stables across the Sahara Desert with an ironing board strapped to his back to raise money for charity.

Worm charming

The World Worm Charming Championship is held annually in the Cheshire village of Willaston in England. It's been run since 1980 and involves luring as many earthworms as possible to the surface in 30 minutes.

This year's winners charmed 419 worms to claim the title at Willaston Primary School in June.

World's ugliest dog

Perhaps it's a bit more of a pageant than a sport but each year the World's Ugliest Dog is crowned in a high-profile competition at Petaluma in Northern California.

Pretty as a picture: Ugly mutts get their day in the sun in this contest. Picture: Lars Christensen/Getty Images/iStockphoto
The 2012 winner, Mugly, received cash and a year's worth of dog biscuits after winning the coveted title in June.


Queensland mum Candice Skjonnemand is Australia's national karaoke champion and will represent us in the 2012 karaoke world championship finals in Lappeenranta, Finland, in late November and early December. The championship has run since 2003.

Toe wrestling

Rebecca Beach put her best foot forward last month to claim the World Toe Wrestling championship in Derbyshire, England. Based on family history, Rebecca was a shoo-in - her mother and father have also won toe wrestling championships.

Toe wrestling is similar to arm wrestling. After taking off their shoes and socks, competitors aim to pin, or trap, their opponent's feet for three seconds, while avoiding it themselves.

Facial hair

The Flight Centre crew reckon they have found a growth sport. The National Beard and Moustache Championships will be held in November at the Clark County Government Centre Amphitheatre in Las Vegas. Categories include moustache, full beard and freestyle.

Bike bog snorkelling

The Welsh village of Llanwrtyd Wells is a real innovator when it comes to wacky events. The village, which also gave the world bog snorkelling, the real ale wobble and the man versus horse marathon, will later this month host the Weird Fish Mountain Bike Bogsnorkelling.

Competitors will be asked to ride a weighted mountain bike through a 2m deep, water-filled trench that winds its way through the local bog.


Ball dodgers from around the world (but mainly from the US and Canada) assembled last weekend for the ninth annual Dodgeball World Championship and Convention in Las Vegas.

Hotdog eating

Sixty-eight hotdogs and buns in 10 minutes? It may not be the world's healthiest sport but there's no denying the competitors' guts. Joey "Jaws" Chestnut has now tasted success for six straight years in the keenly contested Nathan's Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating contest at New York's Coney Island.

Last month, 28-year-old Jaws claimed the coveted mustard yellow belt and $10,000 first prize. The contest has run for almost 100 years and attracts thousands of spectators.

Oyster shucking

America's best oyster shuckers are warming up for the 31st West Coast Oyster Shucking Championship, a highlight of the annual Washington State Seafood Festival. This year's event will be held on October 6 and 7 at the Port of Shelton Fairgrounds at Shelton.


If you had been lucky enough to be in Canada recently, you could have witnessed the Bull's-Eye Canadian National BBQ Championships in Whistler. Described as a "meat lovers' feast", Pork Butt (actually a pig's shoulder) is one of four judging categories.

Wine tasting

And, to wash down all that barbecue food, the 30th Annual California Wine Tasting Championship has just been held at Greenwood Ridge Vineyards in the US. Novice, amateur and professional competitors had to identify eight Californian wine varieties.

Rock paper scissors

And finally, it's not all bad news for sports fans in London. Although the Olympic flame has been extinguished, the city will host the sixth Rock Paper Scissors Championship. The event will be held at the Crosse Keys Pub on October 13.

Paper, scissors, rock. Picture: Chris Fertnig/Getty Images/iStockphoto
The Olympics might be over but the spirit for games lives on, even before the Paralympic Games begins on August 29. The West Australian

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