Some people have too much time on their hands. So much of it, in fact, that they decided to compete against each other. Here are are our top five of the strangest and most unlikely competitions in Europe.

#5: World Pea Shooting Championship

There are all sorts of summer plans, and apparently in the village of Witcham in England, shooting peas with all kinds of wooden/plastic shooters at a soft, putty target, is one of them. Villagers have been carrying out the World Pea Shooting Championship since 1971, under the July sun. Candidates can bring their own pea-machine guns or even laser-guided shooters just to claim the throne. Originally the Championship was a local fundraising idea for the Village Hall, but now, with an entry fee of 2 pounds (around 2.50 euros), the Championship attracts world-wide participants who want to feel the… erm… hype.

#4: European Beard and Moustache Championships

Let’s imagine we’re back in the old, old days, when a gentleman’s masculinity was defined by the fine moustache he wore. Whether it’s a natural style; a Dali style; a Pringles style; an Imperial style or a Musketeer style, the finer the moustache, the more ridiculously attractive and wealthy a man was supposed to be.

Hold that thought, and fast-forward to the 21st century. Imagine a room full of men, with Fu Manchu-styled partial beards (and Manchu costumes) or facial hair so long that it keeps rolling back to their ears… Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the European Beard and Moustache Championships! The biennial competition first took place in Germany in 1990 and is known to be a spin-off of the World Beard and Moustache Championships. Words can’t even describe the crazy beards, so take a look at this slideshow which will give you a taste of the finest facial hair in Europe.

#3: International Shrimp Peeling Competition

Leffrinckoucke – a small town in northern France with a population of around 5000. You may not have heard of it, but it has a claim to fame as the last host of the International Shrimp Peeling Competition in August 2012. The winner took ten minutes to peel 150 grams of shrimps and won the title for the 6th time. It’s hard to say what it is that makes people want to compete at this sport. Maybe it’s the anger they have against shrimps, or maybe it’s the intense pleasure of holding a totally naked shrimp, or maybe it’s just a big cover-up for some shrimp salad factories to get the cheapest possible labour. But either way, next time when you want to do something crazy, book a quick ticket to Leffrinckoucke!

#2: Ugly Dance World Cup

You kind of get what the competition is about by the sound of it, right? So you might be thinking: “Heck, this isn’t hard. I dance like a dork anyway.” But think again. You’re facing up with all the ugliest dancing teams all over Europe; you are dazzled by the creativity that their ugly costumes show and you are just surprised how someone can really move like that in public!

The competition began in 2009 in Hamburg and since then, every year in October, ten teams of four take part. The criteria for selection include outstanding ugliness, creativity, singularity/unseen moves and fun factor.

Last year’s winner, The Ohkakas, was praised for not only having convinced “with epic ugliness” but also for their “horrible appearance and their signature move – the Shy Dance.” The organiser of the competition says that ugly dancing is actually an art and they would rather call it “ugly aesthetics.”

#1: Wife-Carrying World Championship

And the winner of the weirdest European competition goes to Finland and their annual Wife-Carrying world championship in Sonkajarvi. The competition has been attracting many couples to take up the challenge, and with all costumes imaginable, such as The Smurfies, Darth Vader, Twinkle, Peter Pan etc. The husband is required to carry his wife upside down, and finish a 253.5-metre of journey filled with obstacles, including a small pond. The fastest pair wins. However, skinny ladies out there, put that smirk away. The minimum weight requirement of all wives is 50kg and if you want to cheat the system, you are doomed! All wives have to be weighed beforehand and those who are petite are required carry sandbags to make up for the burgers that are missing from their system!

Watch this video below and if you can’t stop laughing while going all “Oooowww…”, then you’ll understand why this deserves to be the winner of our Top 5.

(Cover image: ludovic, Licence: CC BY-SA 2.0)

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