Today is the Super Bowl, at least football’s version of the Super Bowl. You see, every industry, every sport, and every hobby has its version of the Super Bowl. Of course Baseball has the World Series, college Basketball has the Final Four, Soccer the World Cup, and so on. Those are obvious. Squint and everyone has a moment when they pit the best of the best against each other to crown a champion. Their Patrick Mahomes’ and Brock Purdy’s go by less well-known, but nonetheless impressive names like Ellen Ripstein, Billy Mitchell, Darryl Musashi, and Karl Heinz-Hille.
So to celebrate Super Bowl Sunday, here are a few of my favorite (and maybe better) unknown Super Bowls:
Video Game Masters Tournament
This now defunct e-sport contest created in 1983 aimed to crown Guinness Book World Records for top score in classic video games like Pac-Mac, Centipede, and of course, Donkey Kong.
IDEAL Elite Electrician National Championship
Part of the Elite Trades Championship Series, the Electrician’s contest was designed to celebrate and honor those who keep the lights on. With over 58,000 competing from around the world for over $600k in cash and prizes, this annual event promised to crown the top electrician in the world.
American Crossword Puzzle Tournament
Immortalized in one of my favorite documentaries, Wordplay, the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament was founded in 1978 by New York Times puzzle editor Will Shortz. Finalists compete for accuracy and speed on a difficult 21 x 21 square puzzle. Unlike a leisurely morning puzzle, they do this from stage, an oversized Sharpie in hand, wearing noise blocking headphones.
I’ve been known to weird a chainsaw, axe, and saw on occasion. But never with the skill, speed, or agility of the lumberjack woodsman in the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® World Championship. Of course, I’ve also never needed to cut through a 19” tree trunk in 4.83 seconds. Watch closely and you can nearly taste the sawdust.
Even inanimate objects compete to be the best. After rising in popularity during COVID, Marble League has become the world’s leading marble sports event with 20 teams of 5 marbles each competing for 12 qualification spots.
SpecMix Bricklayer 500 at World of Concrete
The SpecMix Bricklayer 500 competition puts masonry’s up-and-coming bricklayers on the world’s biggest stage to showcase their drive and skill. For sixty minutes, masons run a marathon of bricks, mortar, trowels, and grout as they aim to lay as many bricks as they can, with as few errors as possible.
World Beard and Moustache Championship
The least controversial part of the World Beard and Moustache Championships is their spelling of Mustache. This sport is shrouded in controversy, scandal, and facial hair. With categories like Full Beard Freestyle, Garibaldi, and Hungarian Moustache, this is a nail-biter every two years.
Microsoft Excel World Championship
Occasionally I’m proud of myself for using vlookup or making pivot tables. But compared to Andrew ‘The Annihilator’ Ngai at the Microsoft Excel World Championship, it’s the equivalent of bragging over a 5 yard football throw. This champ barely uses his mouse, pulling out moves like “old school ‘ctrl-shift’ arrays to find weighted averages based on multiple parameters”. Ngai doesn’t just dominate this event, he Excels.