ROCK HILL, S.C. — Champions were crowned Friday in Rock Hill, South Carolina, but you may not have heard of these competitions. ESPN brought The Ocho to Rock Hill with a slate of off-beat sporting events, drawing thousands of visitors to catch the action.
If you’re confused about what The Ocho is, we’ll point you to the 2004 movie “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story,” which is about two feuding gyms taking part in a dodgeball league that gets broadcasted on a fictional ESPN offshoot channel: The Ocho. ESPN took the joke in stride and started a yearly campaign to rebrand as “The Ocho” with a programming block full of wacky sports.
The competition was fierce as athletes took the stage for their respective events. They included a pogo stick competition, the World Axe Throwing Commissioners Cup, slippery stairs (which is exactly what it sounds like), the US Air Guitar All-star Air-Off, breakdancing, and in the spirit of the original movie: dodgeball.
“They call them the niche sports, not the traditional football, basketball, baseball; but these niche sports that are evolving over time,” said Rock Hill Operations Supervisor Mark Sexton. The events were held at the Rock Hill Sports & Events Center and Manchester Meadows Park.
One breakdancer from South Carolina, Tahu, talked about his love of breakdancing now that it has become a serious international sport.
“I see it more as an art form, like poetry in motion, but I think as a sport it can get all of the recognition it deserves,” Tahu told Channel 9′s Tina Terry, adding that he’s a fan of the exposure. “Now with it going to the 2024 Olympics in Paris, it’s going to be everywhere ... so the fact that we were able to do this today in Rock Hill, South Carolina, is amazing.”
Rock Hill leaders say they want to give these sports a permanent home in South Carolina.
“Now, we’re talking to all of them about bringing their world championships to Rock Hill in the future,” Sexton said.
The event even drew famous attendees, with celebrities like Flava Flav and several cast members from Jersey Shore making an appearance.
You can see a full list of the niche sports and events at this link.
(WATCH BELOW: Players compete in world cornhole championship in Rock Hill)
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