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Five super strange sports: Slacklining, elephant polo and more

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Ladies and gentlemen, elephant polo. Slightly slower than your average pony game.
Photo: Binod Joshi/AP Photo

If a tightrope and trampoline got together, the product might be a slackline, a thin strip of flexible webbing rigged between two trees and used for various stunts and tricks.

On October 16, slackliner Andy Lewis (you might recognize him from Madonna’s Super Bowl halftime show) will attempt to break the world record for longest urban highline walked by crossing a 360-foot slackline strung 480 feet in the air between Mandalay Bay’s two resort towers. The stunt, a collaboration between Michael Jackson ONE and Gibbon Slacklines, won’t just involve a lot of squinting and nervous people. It will also serve as a dramatic kickoff for the Slackline World Cup Finals, held October 17 inside the MJ ONE Theatre. Which got us thinking—what other competitive sports have we been missing out on?

Sport stacking

“It takes 10 years of deliberate practice to become an expert,” starts the trailer for Stacker, a documentary about the totally real world of totally real international sport cup stacking, which is more or less exactly what you’re imagining—only way more intense.

Cycle ball

Also known as “radball,” this two-on-two sport is like soccer on fixed-gear bicycles. Players use their wheels and heads to boot the ball at a small, lacrosse-size net. Naturally, it’s big in Germany.

Elephant polo

This Far East adaptation of more traditional sporting fare originated in Nepal and features really long mallets and really big ponies. Two people ride each elephant, with one steering and the other swinging. Naturally, PETA does not approve.

Lawn mower racing

“Twenty years of sod slinging” is the motto of the U.S. Lawn Mower Racing Association, which will provide you with everything you wanted to know (and more!) about seated mower competition. The basics: These babies are bladeless and can reach speeds up to 60 miles per hour depending on the machine class and racing surface.

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