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I CONKERED THE WORLD; Hot on the heels of the Conkers World Championship, we look at the weirdest competitions.

Byline: By Brian McIver

FORGET football and rugby, the world has a new sporting ace ...in conkers.

Ady Hurrell of Peterborough has just taken the title in one of the most bizarre international contests, The Conkers World Championship.

But the dozens of people who lined up to swat dried horse chestnuts at each other, are not the world's only crazy "sports" men.

From stone skimmers to crazy golfers, air guitar heroes and beard growers, new and more wacky events are dreamed up every year.

Here is a list of some of the most interesting and unusual:

WORLD BEARD AND MOUSTACHE CHAMPIONSHIPS

THE most recent, and eighth, WBMC were held in Brighton last month, with prizes awarded for best natural moustache, best goatee, best Chinese and best English moustaches and beards.

Prizes are awarded for size, bushiness, originality and style. The next event is in Alaska in 2009.

STONE SKIMMING

THE World Stone Skimming Championships take place at Easdale, near Oban, every year with contestants from all over the globe battling to be chief skimmer.

The Easdale event began in 1983 and has run regularly since 1997.

The 10th anniversary winners were Scot Dougie Isaacs for the men and South African Carike Barnardo for women.

TOILET RACING

ON Lake Galves in Lithuania, teams of racers meet to race Portaloos across the frozen water.

Teams of five, with four pushing and one on the throne, race across the lake, around a bend and then have to scoot to the start/finish line.

The winning team are called the Number Twos.

AIR GUITAR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

GLAMORIZED in movies Bill & Ted and Wayne's World, pretending to play the guitar is now deemed a sport at Finland's air guitar championships.

Contestants "play" in time to their favourite rock anthem, while showing axeman style and flair.

The winner of this year's 12th contest was Ochi Yosuke of Japan.

PAPER ROCK SCISSORS

THE traditional way of settling a dispute - rock blunts scissors, paper covers rock, scissors cut paper - now has its own league and world championships in America and Canada.

The winner of the 2007 contest, held in Toronto, was Andrea Faina from New York State.

TIDDLYWINKS

THERE is a sporting community for the old parlour game involving winks and squidgers.

The current world-title holders are Washington duo Matt Fayers and Larry Kahn. Cambridge scholar Andy Purvis holds the singles crown.

RUBIK'S CUBE

THE popularity of the mind toy has led to dozens of tournaments, with titles determined by speed at solving the puzzle.

Yu Nakajima of Japan won the World Championship 2007, in Hungary, in a time of 12.46 seconds.

EXTREME IRONING

THE bizarre combination of outdoor sports and laundry began in Leicester 10 years ago.

For the World Championship title, people iron their clothes upside down, off mountains or in other "extreme" situations.

CRAZY GOLF

FOR most of us, crazy golf is a holiday or kids' pastime, but for a group of professionals, it is a serious business.

This month the Virgin Money Crazy Golf World Championships are being held in Hastings, Sussex, with dozens of competitors from all over the world.

ELVIS IMPERSONATORS' WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

EVERY year, hundreds of wannabes do battle in Memphis, home town of Elvis, for the honour and glory of being the best impersonator in the world and truly king of kings.

WIFE-CARRYING CHAMPIONSHIPS

THE un-PC event held in Finland every year has captured the imagination of the public all over the world, with follow-up events in America, Australia, Estonia and New Zealand.

But the original, in Sonkajarvi, Finland, is still the biggest and best. There, men battle to carry their wives around a track - or through a pool - in the quickest time.

The current title holder is Inga Klausen from Talinn in Estonia.

SWAMP FOOTBALL

ANOTHER Nordic-founded sport is the muddy version of soccer, where teams play in dirty bogs.

The world championship was founded in Hyrynsalmi, Finland.

The game has now transferred to Scotland, with events in Dunoon, Argyll, the past two summers.

'From stone skimmers to beard growers, more wacky events are dreamed up every year'

CAPTION(S):

HIRSUTE OF HAPPINESS: Men vied for the best facial hair, main pic, in Brighton last month; HANDY: Air guitar and extreme ironing, inset left and above, are also hotly contested
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Title Annotation:Competition/Offers
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 16, 2007
Words:712
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