One of the wackiest competitions in the world, the annual World Egg Throwing Championships held in Swaton, England feature a variety of events, all having to do with smashed eggs.
According to the World Egg Throwing Federation website, egg throwing is a local tradition inspired by historic events that occurred in the 14th century. It’s believed the ancient village of Swaton has stood on theses very grounds since before Roman times, but it wasn’t until 1322 that it became forever linked to egg throwing. The newly appointed Abbot was assigned to the Parish of Swaton by royal decree, and found a rather ingenious way of increasing church attendance. As the only person in the settlement to own chickens, he provided one egg for each attendee to his sermons. But when the waters of the River Eau flooded, cutting off the church from the village, monks started throwing the eggs to the waiting locals. Legend has it when the gap became even wider, the monks used small trebuchets to make sure the eggs traveled the required distance.
Nowadays, egg-throwing has its own federation, established in 2004, tasked with regulating the various events involving egg smashing and hurling, and organizing the World Egg Throwing Championships. Each year, ontestants from all over the world arrive to Swanton to take part in offbeat challenges like the Russian Egg Roulette, Egg Static Relay or Egg Trebuchet. In the Egg Throwing event, two-person teams try to throw an egg from one member to the other over the longest possible distance. They start at 10 meters apart and move even further away from each other after each successful catch.
In the Egg Static Relay, teams of 11 players compete in a contest similar to Egg Throwing. Members of each team stand at a predermined point on a 100 meter course and have to pass along 12 eggs until the final player collects them all. Players are not allowed to move more than five meters from their assigned position, and any breakage adds a 3 second penalty to the team’s time. Egg Target Throwing involves placing a human target 24 feet away from the throwing line, and throwing eggs at it. Extra points are awarded for hitting specific areas, but if the thrown egg lands outside the installed safety net, or if the thrower doesn’t warn the target he is about to take his shot, the thrower is disqualified.
The Russian Egg Roulette is one of the most fun events of the World Egg Throwing Championships, with individual players smashing eggs smashing eggs onto their foreheads. They wear protective bandannas and have to pick from a tray of specially prepared eggs. Five are boiled and one is raw, and the players take turns smashing the eggs, trying to avoind the raw egg. The first one to smash the raw one loses the game. In Egg Trebuchet, teams of at least 2 contestants have to build gravity powered machines, similar to the trebuchet, and use them to hurl eggs at a set distance.
This year, the World Egg Throwing Championships took place on June 26, but if you like to throw eggs and don’t mind getting your hands dirty be sure to register for next year’s contest.