Grab a Front-row Seat at Australia’s Quirkiest Sporting Events

10 August 2012

Cities the world over are gearing up to host a series of high profile sports events during 2012 and 2013, but you don’t have to leave our shores to witness athleticism at its best. Dunny racing, home brewing, tuna tossing and prawn peeling titles are among the honours that are up for grabs in Australia between now and the end of next year.

Flight Centre Limited global marketing manager Colin Bowman said locals could look forward to a series of uniquely Australian sporting events at festivals throughout the country.

 Story Bridge Cockroach Racing

“These events are not only great fun for participants and spectators, they also make valuable contributions in other areas,” Mr Bowman said.

“They are now major tourist attractions in their own right, luring thousands of people to the host cities and towns, which obviously benefits the local economy and businesses. Many are also dedicated to raising much needed funds for charities, which means they have a significant ongoing legacy.”

Here at Flight Centre, we’ve compiled a list of the must see events in Australia for 2012 and 2013.

Home Brewing
The Home Brew Championships are now a key part of the Australian Beer Festival, which will be held at Sydney’s Australian Hotel on October 27 and 28. To win the competition, home brewers are required to design and create an Australian-themed batch for the festival. If you’re thinking of entering, better hop to it – beer submissions must be received by the judges by August 16. Among other things, the winner will win a stall at this year’s beer festival.

Tuna tossing
Tuna tossing is a highlight of Tunarama, a popular annual festival in Port Lincoln, South Australia. As the name suggests, tossers are required to throw a frozen tuna to claim the world championship and their share of the prize money. Next year’s festival will run from January 25-28.

Dunny racing
It’s not quite the race that stops a nation, but the Australian Dunny Derby certainly flushes out more than its share of spectators and interest. The derby is a high profile feature of the five-day Winton Outback Festival, which will run from September 24 next year. Five-person teams compete in the race – two dunny pushers, two dunny pullers and a dunny jockey – which is run over a challenging 200-metre course. Along the way, teams must collect various dunny necessities, including toilet rolls and brushes.

Cockroach racing
Australia Day at Brisbane’s Story Bridge Hotel is race day – cockroach-style. The January 26 cockroach races are now a Brisbane institution and attract large crowds every year to the iconic Kangaroo Point hotel.

Thong tossing
Where else but Australia? One of the most popular events at the long-running King of the Mountain Festival at Pomona, on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, is the world thong throwing championship. As the name suggests, competitors hurl thongs – of the footwear variety – as far as possible at the annual July festival.

Beer can boating
The winged keel isn’t the only innovation in the world of Australian boating. Each year, boat builders in the Northern Territory display their talents by designing and creating craft for the annual Beer Can Regatta. The regatta, which doubles as a charity fundraiser, takes place each July and involves vessels made predominantly from drink cans.

A waterless regatta
You don’t need water to stage a successful regatta in the Northern Territory. The Henley-on-Todd Regatta, near Alice Springs, has taken place annually for more than 50 years along a dry riverbed. Participating teams use leg-power to navigate the dusty course in bottomless boats. This year’s event will take place on August 18, 2012.

Cooee!
The annual New South Wales Cooee calling Championships will be held in Gilgrandra in October. The competition commemorates a march initiated in the country New South Wales town 97 years ago, when a group of local men marched to Sydney to enlist for World War I. Along the way, the famous “cooee” call was used to encourage other men to join in and enlist. Competitors in the modern day championship cooee across the Castlereagh River, hoping to impress the judges.

Prawn peeling
“Undressing” the humble Aussie prawn – cleanly and quickly – is an art. It’s a popular competition at many Australia festivals and events, including Tunarama at Port Lincoln and the Cabramatta Moon Festival in Sydney. This year’s Moon Festival will be held on Sunday, September 23.

The “Pil-barrow” race
Western Australia’s Pilbara region is not only iron ore country – it’s also home to the gruelling Black Rock Stakes, a 120-kilometre race that requires competitors to push a wheel barrow full of iron ore along a testing course between Port Hedland and Karratha. The race is held annually in June and will celebrate its 35th birthday in 2013.

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