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Here it is: one year of Anyone Can Enter boiled down to 4 minutes. Watch the video now to relive all the wacky competitions and to see how I lost 30 pounds. If you’d rather relive some of those competitions in more detail, check out the 7-minute extended cut of the video.

Despite the unwinterly temperature of the air, I just braved 38-degree water at the Polar Plunge in Lake Lure, N.C.

Thawing out with hot chocolate for now.

Look for a full report, with video, sometime soon. Possibly tomorrow.

I’m registered, my Speedo is on and it’s only 30 minutes until plunge time!

Nearly halfway through December, I may be forced to do something unfortunate.

For this month, I may have to count a contest that doesn’t exactly fit the rules of Anyone Can Enter. And by that, I mean that not just anyone could enter my company’s tacky Christmas sweater contest last night. Although, I suppose that anyone could technically apply to work there, which would in turn lead to an automatic invitation to the party, thus granting the new employee an opportunity to enter the contest.

Of course, that makes no sense. So I’ll continue looking for events to enter before the year’s end. But just in case that pursuit falls short, you might as well see the sweater I made.

That’s right. Instead of going the store-bought, Goodwill-found, or hand-me-downed route, I designed my own sweater. I sliced a Grinch stuffed animal in half and sewed him onto the front of a red sweater.

That’s right. I sewed.

Then I sewed a little gift bag onto his hands, which I stuffed with candy canes. I even sewed the Grinch’s backside on the other side of my sweater.

Unfortunately, spending $25.14 on supplies and sewing for an hour on a Friday night doesn’t translate into success, as I didn’t win the contest.

Maybe I’d have better luck in a Grinch-themed sweater contest. If only I could find one…

The season of giving is nearly upon us. Unfortunately, the holiday season doesn’t give back an abundance of quirky contests.

Not that there aren’t some good options. In fact, I would love to participate in a Santa Speedo Run, a short charity fun run that requires entrants to run in Speedos and Santa hats. OK, actually, I’d rather not wear a Speedo. But I love the idea of it all.

The only problem is that these runs are in far-away cities such as Boston and Atlanta, and as a general practice, I prefer not to drive more than 4 hours to expose myself to strangers.

That’s why I’m asking you for an early Christmas present. Please find me a quirky, odd, or ridiculous contest to compete in somewhere in North Carolina this December.

Or better yet, start a contest. As long as I can keep my clothes on.

If I wasn’t running a half marathon this Sunday, here’s a few events that would have been on my radar this November.

The World’s Biggest Liar Competition

In this contest in Cumbria, England, competitors have five minutes to tell the biggest lie they can. Too bad that last year’s contest (according to the contest’s official Web site) was canceled due to bad weather. Of course, that was probably just a lie.

Hawg-Calling Contest

This contest is held at the Chitlin’ Strut, a chitlin festival, in Salley, SC. Surprisingly enough, there’s no chitlin-eating contest there. Yet.

World Championship Punkin Chunkin

This contest in Delaware is exactly what it sounds like: the pumpkin that goes the farthest wins.

Blackbeard’s Challenge

This will be an attempt to set a Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of pirates in one location. The current record of 6,166 pirates is held by a band of scalawags from Hastings, England. This record shot will be held Saturday in nearby Greenville, NC. It will take place a few hours before the East Carolina-Navy football game. Wait. Actually, I might have to be a part of this…

As a wacky sports enthusiast and frequent participant in seemingly pointless contests, I was saddened to learn of the tragic end to the World Sauna Competition in Finland.

The contest came down to two men: Russian contestant Vladimir Ladyzhenskiy and five-time champion Timo Kaukonen. For more than six minutes, neither man would budge from the sauna. Finally, contest referees pulled them out of the 230-degree heat. Ladyzhenskiy collapsed. Both men were rushed to the hospital, but Ladyzhenskiy later died.

Organizers said the contest, which started in 1999, will never be held again. After seeing the pictures of Ladyzhenskiy’s burnt, scorched skin, it’s easy to see why.

I don’t mean to minimize Ladyzhenskiy’s death, but canceling the contest might be the wrong decision.

That’s because calling off an event that goes tragically awry probably won’t stop others’ desire to compete. If that were the case, people would have stopped climbing mountains years ago and the annual Running of the Bulls would be ancient history. Likewise, I find it hard to believe that this death will stop the phenomenon of competitive sauna sitting, especially in a country well known for its alcohol consumption and sauna use. Other contests may pop up between friends. They may push the limits well beyond 230 degrees. More deaths may result.

Instead, the contest organizers should assume leadership roles and revise the rules. By maintaining the contest, they can set the standard for any rogue contests that may take place. Naturally, they can start by decreasing the maximum temperature somewhere below the point at which water boils.

In doing so, they may even save some lives in the future.

If you’re a regular reader, you may notice something different about the blog.

If you’re a new reader, welcome! You’re probably wondering why a blog called Anyone Can Enter doesn’t feature a single inappropriate picture. You’ll probably be moving along now…

Of course, I’m referring to the sleek new logo. It will be a mainstay on the blog from now on. Also, you might see it on a t-shirt somewhere soon if you happen to be in line for free french fries or if you’re near the back of the pack in an Idiotarod.

Many, many thanks to good friend and all-around digital genius Thushan Amarasiriwardena for creating the logo.

If you’re a fan of Anyone Can Enter, there’s a good chance you might want to check out ESPN columnist Rick Reilly’s upcoming book Sports From Hell: My Search for the World’s Dumbest Competition.

Actually, when I first read the book summary, I thought I’d be asking you to order a few copies to use as fire starters. Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against Reilly. I’m a longtime fan, in fact, which is why the upfront similarity between his book and this blog set me back. Great, I thought, not only has someone else already achieved what I’ve only just started, but it’s someone immensely more talented, funnier, and better connected than me. In my haste, I nearly shut this whole operation down.

Then I read that title again: My Search for the World’s Dumbest Competition.

So what if a few of the events on Reilly’s list are on mine, too? I’m not in this to mock a few select events. I’m pursuing all events, big and small, so that I can celebrate them. Besides, this isn’t about finding 10 or 12 events to frame into a book. This is a lifestyle.

And someday, if there is an Anyone Can Enter book, I’d like to think there’s room for it on the shelf next to Sports From Hell.

Yes, this is a blatant ripoff of the Krispy Kreme Challenge and, yes, I’m also going to the World Beer Festival that day, but I don’t see any good reason not to do this. Who’s going to join us?

By the way, thanks to Megan Pfanmiller for pointing this out to me.

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