What an eventful week in America! NFL football is back, the Perseids meteor shower lit up the sky, Trump sent out more tweets about Kanye West, and then it all came to thrilling end with the Teen Choice Awards last night. So much excitement, I know. I’m sure you’ll agree that football being back is on of the best parts of August. Everyone is still hopeful that this is THE year for their team, no dreams have been crushed (yet), it’s a great time for everyone. All sports, especially football, bring families, schools and entire cities together. Food is also a great way to bring people together, so I’m here to talk about what happens when you combine food AND sports. Let me tell you, there are some very weird and magical ‘sports’ that have been created utilizing food. I hope you’re prepared to learn something new today. Here are five wacky sports that combine food and competition from around the world.
The rules in pea shooting are simple. Competitors stand 12 feet away from a 12 inch target with a 12 inch pea shooting tube of their choice. There are no strict specifications on the pea shooter itself, but the pea must be propelled by blowing with your mouth. Pea shooters equipped with laser guides are not unheard of in this game, it’s serious business. Similar to darts, the target has three different point tiers, the center is 5 points, first outer ring is 3 points, the outermost ring is only 1 point. Every year there is a pea shooting world championship in a small town called Witcham, about 80 miles north of London. It was first held in 1971 as a fundraiser for the town and grew into an annual competition that now draws competitors from all over the world.
This sport is exactly what it sounds like. In the Port of Lincoln in South Australia, they celebrate their fishing heritage with the annual Tuna Tossing World Championship. A rope is attached to a 20-pound tuna and the participant throws it as far as they possibly can. Like shot put, the competitors usually gain momentum by spinning with the tuna before releasing it at the perfect time to get the best distance. The competition started in 1979 at the Tunarama Festival and has being going strong ever since. The current record of the tuna toss is 122 feet, set by Olympic hammer thrower Sean Carlin in 1998. I wonder if he is more proud of being an Olympian or throwing tuna the furthest!
Now this one is not as easy to figure out based on the name. This is a very strange sporting event that takes place every spring in the UK in the region of Gloucester (try and say that name 5 times fast). Here’s how it goes down, a 9 pound roll of local Gloucester cheese is rolled down a very steep hill and competitors race down the hill in pursuit of said cheese. At first the goal was to have someone catch the cheese, but turns out a cheese round moves a lot quicker down a hill than a person. Now the winner is just the first person to make it down the hill after the cheese, but a lot of people just end up falling down the hill aggressively. In short, it’s a downhill race, but you’re chasing cheese. Chris Anderson is the record holder, winning 22 cheese races thus far. Anyone can participate, so maybe this is something you can add to the bucket list? I’m really pulling for Gordo’s Cheese Dip to sponsor next year’s cheese rolling race. England deserves amazing queso too! In case you don’t believe me, here’s a great video of the Cheese Rolling competition so you have an idea of how it goes down.
The beer mile in a rather new phenomenon. With the rising popularity of themed 5k races (i.e. Hot Chocolate 5k, Foam Glow 5k etc.) it was only a matter of time before alcohol and running came together in a strange partnership. The beer mile is simple. You drink one beer prior to running a standard 400-meter lap on a track and repeat 4 times until you’ve completed the mile. One beer for every lap! Finish first and don’t throw up. If you do throw up, you have to run an extra penalty lap. There was a beer mile championship in Austin, TX from 2014-2017, but now there are just local races across the country! It is definitely a new take on making a beer run!
Hot Dog Eating
Believe it or not, competitive eating is a thing…there is even Major League Eating for professional eating! There are people that spend tons of time and money training to eat as much food as possible as quickly as possible to win money. The most notable eating competition is Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest that takes place every 4th of July on Coney Island in Brooklyn, NY. The name of the game is eating as many hot dogs as possible in 10 minutes, bun and all. It’s an American tradition that started in the 1970’s. Men and women from all over the world come to compete and expand their stomachs as much as possible without getting sick so they can win the blinged out mustard yellow belt (the women’s belt is pink). Joey Chesnut is the current record holder. With 11 mustard belts, Chesnut has won more contests than anyone. He also holds the record for the most hot dogs eaten in 10 minutes, which is 74! I cannot imagine eating that many of anything, but you do you Joey!
Believe it or not, there are more wacky food sports like pancake races, haggis hurling and even a black pudding toss. I mean, even Gordo’s has helped put on a cheese eating and human taco building contest at Talladega Superspeedway back in 2017!
Kyle Larson said this might be a little stranger than normal, but it's mostly on par with other Talladega weekends. pic.twitter.com/0WSwhIK2g7
— Michelle R. Martinelli (@MMartinelli4) May 6, 2017
If Gordo’s put on an annual cheese wrestling competition where people wrestled in cheese dip, I think it would be a huge hit! I know I would compete. Based on the food sports that already exist, anything is possible. I would love to know if would you participate in any of these wacky competitions or would you create your own games? Let me hear about!