Wife Carrying Championship
North American Wife Carrying Championship
The North American Wife Carrying Championship draws thousands of spectators to the grass-covered slopes of Sunday River each fall and receives world-wide media attention as teams compete for fame, fortune, and a chance to compete at the World Championships in Finland the following summer. The 14th annual North American Wife Carrying Championship is scheduled for Saturday, October 12, 2013.
Wife-carrying is based on husband-and-wife teams racing with the husband carrying the wife through a regulation length 278-yard obstacle course featuring log hurdles, sand traps, and the always popular “widow maker” water hazard. The fastest two teams from the qualifying round then compete head-to-head in a final heat. Competing couples do not have to be married, though they must be comprised of a man and a woman and both must be at least 21 years old to enter. How the wife is carried is the competitors' choice, though most use the "Estonian carry" where the female participant holds the male around the waist and tightens her legs around his neck, thereby freeing his hands.
The winning couple take's home the wife’s weight in beer, five times her weight in cash, and an entry into the World Championship, which takes place in Finland the following summer.
Each year the field includes 50 couples with pre-qualification given to the winners of state or regional events. Public registration for the remaining spots in the 2013 event opens August 5, 2013.
Last Year's Champion Couple:
Congratulations to Taisto Miettinen and Kristina Haapenen from Helsinki, Finland, for winning the 2012 North American Wife Carrying Championship on Saturday, October 6, 2012. The four-time world champions ran a qualifying heat of 52.58 seconds, the fasted of the day, beating Maine natives Jesse Wall and Christine Arsenault. Taisto and Kristina took home Kristina's weight in beer and five times her weight in cash. Check out what they had to say about Sunday River's event in an interview for CNN's Situation Room. For a full list of competitor results click here.
About Wife Carrying:
The legend behind the North American Wife Carrying Championship is based on 19th century Finnish legend “Ronkainen the Robber” who had high qualifications for the men he accepted into his band. To prove their worth, men had to compete through a difficult course with a heavy sack (or woman grabbed from neighboring villages) on their back. The first modern day wife-carrying event was held in Finland in 1991 and foreign contestants were admitted in 1995. Qualifying events are also held in Australia, Sweden, and Estonia.
The course at Sunday River is built to international specifications at 278 yards in length with two dry obstacles and one water obstacle. The race format varies slightly from the World Championship in that there is no minimum wieght limit for the wife, and the winner is determined by a head-to-head final race rather than being determined only by the finishing time in the competitor's initial round. Additionally, the North American course is run on uneven ground with elevation changes, as compared to the World course which is predominently flat. Helmets are not required for the North American Championship.
The North American Wife Carrying Championship was founded in 1999 by Sunday River, which today is the organization that owns the event and serves as the santioning body for the United States and Canada to determine the North American winners for the World Championships. If you are interested in santioning a state or regional event to qualifying winners for the North American Championship please contact our Marketing Manager, Caroline Ochtera. For media inquiries, photos and video of past events, and press access please contact our Director of Communications, Darcy Morse. Additional information on wife carrying is available on Wikipedia.
2012 Wife Carrying Championship
2011 Wife Carrying Championship
Past Wife Carrying Championships
The North American Wife Carrying Championship owned by Sunday River Resort under U.S. Trademark 85775335.