North American Wife Carrying Championship

North American Wife Carrying Championship

Win the wife's weight in beer & 5 times her weight in cash

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    October 12, 2019
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Congratulations to returning champions Jesse Wall and Christine Arsenault of Team Cure Mito on their 2018 victory! 


Combined age of 80+
Combined weight of 350+

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The 20th Annual North American Wife Carrying Championship will take place on Saturday, October 12, 2019, during Sunday River Resort's annual Fall Festival Weekend. Registration will open January 1, 2019. 

Register now for the 2019 event! 

Wife Carrying: A History

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 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 sanctioning body for the United States and Canada to determine the North American winners of the World Championships. Additional information is available on

How It Works

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 weight 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 predominantly flat. Helmets are not required for the North American Championship. Wife carrying is based on husband-and-wife teams racing with the husband carrying the wife through a regulation length 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 takes home the wife's weight in Goose Island Oktoberfest beer, five times her weight in cash, and an entry into the World Championship, which takes place in Finland the following summer. 

Sanctioning an Event

If you are interested in sanctioning a state or regional event to qualifying winners for the North American Championship, please review our How to Plan a Wife Carrying Event information and send a sanctioning form to our Events and Competitions team. Sanctioned Wife Carrying events throughout North America: 

For media inquiries, photos, and videos of past events, and press access, please contact  Other inquiries should be sent to North American Wife Carrying Championship is a trademark of Sunday River Skiway Corporation.

Sunday River's Wife Carrying Championship