They carry their wives, sit on ants, throw milking stools, boots and mobile phones, here in the home of weird world championships, participants will do just about anything to win their offbeat crowns.
Normally reserved Finns say there is no better way to celebrate the short summer months than with contests that add a jolt of adrenaline and silliness to bright summer nights. "Maybe we are a little bit crazy ... maybe we are just bored," said Toni Hautamakix, a sauna-championship spectator from Oulu.
With foreign visitors growing by about 6 percent in 2007 and many oddball competitions taking place in distant rural areas, Finland's funny business is also a spur for tourism.
Most of the 50 or so competitions that take place over the three summer months, many billed grandly as world championships, started at summer fairs or village affairs.
But today the top competitions can each attract about 10,000 people to the Nordic country annually to watch or join in, staggering across hurdles with their spouses clinging to their backs or diving headlong into ponds of mud after a soccer ball.
Some events are so popular, swamp soccer, wife-carrying and air guitar, they have prompted other nations to hold their own contests to select who will compete in Finland.
Portuguese Olympic cross-country skier Danny Silva said these events bring out the best in the usually sombre Finns, letting them goof off, dress up, and poke fun at themselves.
Silva, who was taking his first stab at swamp soccer in July, said it would have taken a great marketing effort to make such a competition succeed in his hometown.
"Portuguese players like all the glamour, perfume, look all nice, and here people just get down and get dirty," he said. Many of the events allow top athletes to add extra oomph and fun to their workouts. They also let them show off their "sisu", the Finnish version of perseverance and guts.
Finnish cross-country skiers use swamp soccer to train in the snowless summer months. Both work the same muscles, but slogging through a mud-soaked field adds an element of fun.