Morning Show Year in Review: Odd, Quirky & Unusual Competitons

Throughout the year of 2013, News 4 This Morning took a look at some unique and quirky competitions that took place across the world!

In the video above, enjoy a look back at some of the most unusual of these!

Below are the original stories for each of these competitions, including their original sources.

401th Annual UK Shin Kicking Championships

For over four centuries local contestants in the rural English town of Chipping Campden have been partaking in largely harmless and healthy events as part of the Cotswold Olimpicks. That is with the exception of one brutal sport - the shin kicking championships.

"The origins are fairly lost in the mists of time, but certainly it's at least five or six hundred years old," explains shin kicking judge James Wiseman. "We've been doing it here for 400 years so it probably started as a variation on wrestling."

"It is painful, injuries are not unknown," adds event chairman Graham Greenall.

"Possibly sprains and strains. It's a skillful sport. The point is if you're kicking somebody's shins, their usual idea is to avoid it and that puts them off balance and then you can trip them and throw them, you've then scored the point. So it's a tactical as well as a physical sport, but sometimes it's just purely brutal."

Shin kicking is one of the most popular events as part of the local festivities, but that brutality means few are brave enough to turn-up again.

High Thrills at The World Lawnmower Race

The climax of the lawn mower racing season in the United Kingdom has taken place with the world championships of the unusual sport on Sunday (July 14).

The format of this unique World Championship Grand Prix is a series of sprint races where drivers accumulate valuable points over a weekend of racing, with each group of lawnmowers taking part in 16 races.

The Ferraris or McLarens of this sport have names more often associated by the layman with garden centers: Atco, John Deer, Webb or Westwood.

"I enjoy the fact that you turn up and get loads of races over the weekend unlike a lot of other sports. I guess like any other form of motorsport, whatever it might be, the red mist comes down and you are competing with any individual in any given race and it's just the thrill of that, I guess," said racer Mark Robson.

For obvious safety reasons all the blades are removed from the mowers and only minor modifications to the engine are allowed. It's a sport which boasts on the website of its official organization, the British Lawn Mower Racing Association, that its main objectives are "no sponsorship, no commercialism, no cash prizes and no modifying of engines".
Crickets Compete in National Championship

Autumn marks the cricket fighting season in Beijing, a traditional Chinese sport with over 1,000 years of history.

Similar to cock fighting, the traditional Chinese cricket fight involves two crickets duking it out within a fixed ring.

Man Zhiguo, a part-time cricket fighting fanatic and full-time truck driver, has been raising and fighting crickets for over 40 years.

The 54-year-old has a diverse collection of more than 70 crickets from across China, some worth over 10,000 Yuan ($1633.69) a piece.

Each of his specimens lie nestled in modest clay jars along the shelves of his cricket room in a traditional Beijing courtyard.


Colorado Vet Wins UK Cheese Roll

An American army veteran beat other daredevils who hurled themselves down a hill in a centuries-old English countryside tradition on Monday (27 May).

Colorado Springs-based Kenny Rackers, 27, took first place in the main race at the annual cheese rolling competition at Coopers Hill, Gloucestershire, in western England

"It feels great. I trained a long time for this, even got hurt practicing on the hill, came three days early...took a bad spill but I came to win and that's what I did," he said. "I came over three or four thousand miles just for this race. I put it on my bucket list and today it was to win and that's what I did."

One man reportedly sustained a broken leg in one of the races, said to have taken place since the 1800s, but Rackers, an estate agent in his native Colorado, made it virtually unscathed.

When asked if he had a message to his countrymen, the former serviceman paid tribute to US troops.

WTVY vs. Rose Hill - Wii Bowling
(by Katrice Nolan, WTVY)

It was the ultimate showdown between WTVY and the Rose Hill Senior Center Wii Sports Bowlers.

Reg, Demetria, Paul and Chris took on James, Mac, Joe and Dorothy.

They competed for a nearly 6foot trophy and, of course, bragging rights!

After 2 rounds the Rose Hill Seniors bested the News 4 Team by a score of 776 to 687.

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