You’ve probably organized, or even played in, a softball game, bowling tournament, golf outing or volleyball competition as part of an employee event or more informally with your friends and family. And we love our sporting events. They bond people and give us the chance to have some fun with good old-fashioned competition. But not everyone follows a traditional path of the corporate softball match or sand volleyball tournament to create energy and excitement. Around the world, people engage in some wacky activities ranging from rolling nine-pound rounds of cheese to kicking each other’s shins. And they’re creating a following, too. Here are some unusual sporting events around the world that bring audiences in by the droves, either as participants or spectators:
Cooper’s Hill, United Kingdom: Cheese Rolling. Who could ever have guessed that watching participants rolling nine pound round of cheese down a hill would draw such a following every year? The Cooper’s Hill event starts as the Double Gloucester is sent down the steep hill, chased down by thousands of competitors hoping to cross the finish line first. The winner keeps the cheese and is awarded bragging rights, to be discussed while enjoying a pint at the Cheese Rollers Pub nearby.
While the competition is open to participants from all over the world, children are strongly discouraged due to the inherent danger: the round reaches speeds up to 45 miles per hour and can easily knock over spectators and competitors alike.
Todd River, Australia: Henley on Todd Boat Racing. A lack of navigable water doesn’t deter competitors from Henley on Todd Boat Racing at the completely dry Alice Springs. Participants create their own bottomless vessel and run inside the boat, carrying it to the finish line. The winners are those that make it first, without any falls.
Cotswolds, United Kingdom: Shin Kicking: From some of the same minds behind cheese rolling comes the insane sport of Shin Kicking, held in the same vicinity in the Cotswolds. It’s a recognized event with the objective being to constantly kick your opponent until they fall down; the winner is the person left standing after victories in two-of-three rounds.
Netherlands: Chess Boxing. Two of the most unlikely activities are combined in chess boxing, which follows a format that’s exactly as it sounds: Competitors take each other on as they alternate between each discipline, finishing six games of chess and five rounds of boxing. The winner is declared when any of the following occurs:
- A knockout or technical knockout in boxing;
- Checkmate or exceeding allowable time in chess:
- Resignation, in either the boxing or chess rounds.
While chess boxing originated in the Netherlands as a performance art, it quickly spread to Germany, the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe.
Are you ready to lace up the boxing gloves, invest in a disc of cheese or build a boat that will never touch water? Even if you’re not, you might gain some inspiration from these interesting sporting events and incorporate them into your event planning strategy. At one point, the organizers of the turtle races, cheese-rolling competitions or dry-boat regattas were trying to come up with ways to engage audiences. They succeed, and you can get great ideas by following their lead.
Image source: http://www.cheese-rolling.co.uk
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