7 of the World’s Strangest Contests

No matter what competition you want to enter, it takes a lot of time and effort to prepare for it. This is true even if the competition is not based on physical strength or endurance. Even the world’s strangest contests require training and planning. If you want to win a contest, but the typical sports competitions or sweepstakes don’t have enough thrill for you, take a look at the world’s seven strangest contests below:

Extreme Ironing Contest

1. Extreme Ironing Championship

Introduced in 1997, Extreme Ironing (EI) is an outdoor sport that involves pressing a shirt in an extreme condition. For instance, records have been set for ironing on top of Mt. Everest, under water, skydiving, and more. Participants are encouraged to submit their photos or videos for a chance at a record. Current records can be viewed on the official EI website.

Prize: Winners receive fame, glory, and bragging rights.

Air Guitar Contest

2. World Air Guitar Championship

In this sport, competitors dance to their choice of music (typically rock) while playing an invisible guitar. Points are awarded for technical merit, stage presence, and “airness.” After this free-style show, competitors must perform to a song chosen by the judges. This is also a popular spectator competition because of the fun atmosphere.

Prize: Winners receive a place in the Air Guitar Championships Hall of Fame. Regional winners receive round-trip air fare and accommodations for the World Championship competition.

Beard and Moustache Contest

3. The World Beard and Moustache Championship

Not all men have the ability to grow a moustache and beard, but some can grow one long enough to win a competition. Of course, the World Beard and Moustache Championship is not only judged on beard length, there are a variety of other categories, such as free-style, groomed, musketeer, and more.

Prize: Winners receive cash prizes for all categories (totaling $5,000).

Wife Carrying Contest

4. Wife Carrying Championship

In the 1800s, Finland had a brigand called Rosvo-Ronkainen who would only accept men into his troops that had proven themselves on a hard track, which involved carrying women. Now, women volunteer for the opportunity, and the sport has been officially organized since 1992. Finland isn’t the only place that holds this competition, but it is the place that started it all.

Prize: The winner receives his wife’s weight in beer, or other special prizes.

Pea Shooting Contest

Image Courtesy of druid labs on Flickr

5. World Pea Shooting Championship

Originally created as a fund-raising effort, this competition took off because it was so much fun. John Tyson, the teacher that started the competition, drew his inspiration from the creative pea shooters that he constantly confiscated from crafty students. Since 1971, people have been competing in the World Pea Shooting Championships to raise money for local charities.

Prize: The winner’s name is engraved on the John Tyson Shield and money raised goes to local charities.


Ugliest Dog Contest

6. World’s Ugliest Dog Contest

Your mother probably taught you from the time you were young that it isn’t nice to call anyone or anything “ugly.” The World’s Ugliest Dog Contest, however, encourages dog owners to embrace the ugliness of their dogs and enter them into this contest. There are several categories in the competition, but the overall ugliest dog takes home the grand prize. The Chinese Crested breed has taken more titles than any other type of dog, but that doesn’t mean your pooch doesn’t have a chance.

Prize: The winner receives $1,000 and fame.

Chessboxing Contest

7. ChessBoxing Championship

This competition is for people that are both strong and smart. Competitors take turns playing chess and boxing in between. There is four minutes of chess followed by three minutes of boxing, and it goes back and forth until a winner is declared. A winner is declared when they knock someone out during boxing or achieve a checkmate during the chess game. The sport was established in London, England in 2008, and has had annual competitions since.

Prize: The winner receives a cash prize that varies from year to year.


These contests are all pretty cool, but sometimes entering an online sweepstakes is easier and the prizes are usually larger. So, before you try something strange and unusual just to get a bit of fame, try entering an easy sweepstakes or try your luck at a normal sports competition.