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5 Jobs With Epic Championship Tournaments

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You don't need to be a superstar athlete with a million-dollar contract and a billion-dollar ego to be a champion. Here in the good ol' U.S. of A., tournaments aren't just reserved for sports; we have competitions that can turn the most menial and everyday professions, tasks, and skills into nail-biting tournaments and gripping challenges.

1. Pizza making

Dominos Pizza used to pride itself on being able to make and deliver hot pizza pies as fast as humanly possible with their famous "30 minutes or less" guarantee. The company has since realized that a speedy delivery promise doesn't matter much if the pizza tastes like piping hot cardboard, but they haven't given up on trying to create a fleet of super fast pizza makers. Every year, they've held a World's Fastest Pizza Maker competition with competitors from their global franchises to see who can put together a pie the fastest. The title is currently held by Pali Grewal of Surrey, England, who put together three large pizzas in 39.1 seconds.

2. Bagging

Putting your groceries in bags looks easy, but that's just because the best of the best can make it look easy. Every year, the best and brightest in bagging are tapped by the National Grocers' Association to compete in their annual Best Bagger Championship. The first competition was held in 1987 in Dallas, Texas, and had just two contestants from Texas and Oklahoma. These days, contestants from all 50 states converge in Las Vegas for the annual competition.

It takes a lot more than just a good time to win the big bagging trophy. According to the NGA's official coordinator manual, contestants are judged by speed, bag building technique, weight distribution, and "style, attitude and appearance." The bagger with the highest score gets $10,000, the "Grocery Bag" trophy, and "Best Bagger Golden Lane" to proudly display in their store. Admiral, Washington's Andrew Borracchini took home the latest grand prize earlier this year.

3. Firefighting

Being a firefighter requires countless hours of training and education and strict fitness discipline. Some firefighters dedicate additional time to compete in the Firefighter Combat Challenge, where the world's best and fastest firefighters compete in a grueling obstacle course that incorporates all of the skills and challenges of traditional firefighting. The course measures individual and team runs in events that include hauling and hoisting a firehose pack up a high-rise structure, victim rescues, and forcing entry into a simulated burning building.

4. Baristas

Every morning when you shuffle into your neighborhood coffee shop, you're probably too tired to notice the amount of work it takes to brew your cup of wake-up juice. It's such a delicate and complicated process that every year, the United States Barista Championship holds a heated competition to find the best Barista in the country. The competition covers three rounds: preparation, competition, and clean-up—each in an elimination-style tournament with a certain number of the highest scores moving to the next round. The baristas must make a single cup of espresso, cappuccino, and signature drink coffees for a group of specialized judges who determine the coffees' "sensory" qualities and the Barista's "technical" skill and award each player points based on their judgments. Pete Licata from Parisi Coffee of Kansas City, Missouri, won the last Barista championship in Boston.

5. School bus driving

Very few automotive competitions involve skills like parallel parking, "diminishing clearance," and a knowledge test of driver safety. The National School Transportation Association makes up for these sorely needed competitions by holding an annual safety competition for school bus drivers. Some of the world's best and brightest bus drivers travel to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to show off their safe student transportation skills in a very thorough gauntlet of driving challenges that include "elementary student loading," curb lines and stop lines, right turn events, and "railroad crossing and clearance." They also take a general knowledge and vehicle inspection test as part of the overall competition. The top 2012 drivers included Mark Koelbl from Calgary, Alberta, Antonio Perez from Encinitas, California, and Russell Altizer from Christiansburg, Virginia.

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Owe Money to the IRS? You Could Score a Free One-Way Trip with JetBlue
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April 18—Tax Day—is fast approaching. Not expecting a fat refund check? Here’s some consolation: Travel + Leisure reports that JetBlue is giving away 1000 free one-way flights to taxpayers who owe money to Uncle Sam.

The airline launched its Tax Return Return Flight giveaway on April 11. The giveaway runs until April 25, and you’re eligible to enter once a day. Just visit JetBlueTaxReturnFlight.com and fill out the required fields (name, email, age, and whether you owe money to the IRS on your 2016 return).

JetBlue will select 66 winners each day during the promotion’s first 14 days, and on the last day, they’ll choose 76 winners. These lucky individuals—who will receive the good news via email—will score a one-way flight certificate, which they can use to book trips anywhere in the contiguous United States or Alaska. That said, the certificate is only valid between May 1 and June 15, 2017, so consider whether or not you’re up for a spur-of-the-moment spring break trip before throwing your hat in the ring.

The promotion is open to adults ages 18 or older. All must be legal residents of one of the contiguous 48 United States, Washington, DC, or Alaska. (Sorry, Hawaii.) Winners probably won’t be required to show JetBlue their tax forms, but in the name of honesty (and karma), don't lie about owing money just to snag a discount trip.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

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Megabus Wants to Throw You a Free Wedding (on a Megabus)
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Marriage can be a bumpy road, but Megabus wants to give one lucky couple a smooth start by awarding them a free wedding. The discount travel company's new “Marry Me On A Megabus” sweepstakes provides winners with an all-expenses-paid ceremony aboard a bus, along with two round-trip tickets for the honeymoon and $2500 in cash.

For most people, buses don’t exactly scream “romance.” But according to Sean Hughes, Megabus's director of public affairs, they often serve as a vehicle for lasting love.

"Over the past 10 years, we have loved hearing about couples that have met on a Megabus or used megabus.com to travel to see their long-distance loves," Hughes said in a news release. "It's a pleasure to play Cupid and be a part of so many people's love life."

Touching anecdotes aside, all couples—not just far-flung sweethearts—are invited to enter Megabus’s giveaway until February 21, either through the company's Facebook page or an online form. Submit the story of how you met, and why exactly you want to be married on a Megabus. (The giveaway’s perks—which, in addition to a paid honeymoon, include free music, flowers, and an officiant; and complimentary transportation to and from the ceremony—probably don’t count toward your answer.)

The winning duo will be announced on social media on March 15, 2017; they can select a wedding destination from more than 100 cities. Interested couples can view the official sweepstakes rules online.

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