Unusual Sporting Event Ideas For A Road Trip

Basketball, football, baseball, hockey, and more. When it comes to sports, you’ve seen it all and maybe even done a few yourself. But now you’re looking for something different. Here are some suggestions for unusual sporting event ideas for a road trip. While some of these events may have a long-time history and thousands of long-time fans, more than likely they’re brand-new to you. Get your car checked up and ready to ride, hit the highway, and see what goes on in and around sporting events like these.


Rodeos are as American as apple pie, baseball, and cowboys. Summer is rodeo season, and it’s an even bet one is taking place or traveling through or near where you live. Events can include bull riding, calf roping, barrel racing, bronc busting, steer wrestling, and plenty of side events happening in and around the arena. Pretty much the original extreme sport, it’s a guaranteed impossibility that you’ll be bored. It’s also the most objectively normal of the events mentioned in this article. 

Portland Adult Soapbox Derby

Gravity racers or soapbox racers are motorless vehicles powered only by the inclined hills they ride down. Traditionally a kid sport, the Portland Adult Soapbox Derby attracts grown-up participants who race their cars down an extinct volcano, Mt. Tabor, every third Saturday in August. A popular event that draws about 10,000 viewers, expect plenty of excitement and some beautifully designed vehicles, from the impressively awesome to the incredibly bizarre. Then again, it’s Portland.

Pig-N-Ford Race

The Tillamook County Fair is an enjoyable time all on its own, but it has one particular and inimitable event that must be seen to be believed. Started sometime in 1925, the Pig-N-Ford Race is a race between antique Model T cars. If that wasn’t odd enough, the drivers must first grab a 20-pound pig, hand crank their cars, and do a lap around the track, before repeating those action two more times for a total of three laps. The pigs must, of course, remain in the cars, otherwise the whole thing would be absurd.

International Camel and Ostrich Races 

This one requires a trip to Virginia City, Nevada, but it’s worth it. Held for the past 60 years and accommodated by a midway with plenty of food and fun, dozens of camels and ostriches participate in a rapid and precarious race around the track. Also, on occasion, a zebra has shown up.

West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta

For unusual sporting event ideas for a road trip, this one takes the prize. Is it a race or a regatta? Does it matter? In 2004, the members of the Pacific Giant Vegetable Growers Club of Tualatin, OR, decided the 1,000-pound pumpkins they grew deserved a nautical fate. They hollow out the enormous squashes, don costumes, and paddle the pumpkins around Tualatin Lake in Tualatin, OR. The event has become an annual rite. Tasty treats, costume contests, and pumpkin bowling and golf are also offered, of course.