North American Wife Carrying Championship
October 9, 2020

North American Wife Carrying Championship

  • October 9, 2020
North American Wife Carrying Championship

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

  • Event Icon
    October 9, 2020
  • coin icon
    11AM

You might've carried your wife across the threshold, but it's time to take it up a notch. The North American Wife Carrying Championship tasks couples with crossing a 278-yard obstacle course--over hurdles, through a watery mud pit, and up an unsteady sand hill--all for the hopes of winning the wife's weight in beer and five times her weight in cash. 

About the North American Wife Carrying Championship

  • With the current health crisis, we've been hard-at-work to determine the safest way to keep one of our favorite fall traditions alive. The 21st Annual North American Wife Carrying Championship has been moved to Friday, October 9 at 11AM. Couples will run single heats against the clock instead of a head-to-head race. 

    The cash and beer prize are still up for grabs for the fastest couple to complete the course. Media will be attending on an invite-only basis, but spectating will be limited (with no access to the center viewing area as in years past). Masks will also be required at all times indoors, and when 6 feet of distance cannot be maintained outside; competitors will not have to wear a mask during their heat. If you have any questions, please reach out to events@sundayriver.com. Media wishing to attend the event or receive footage and photos after the fact should contact communications@sundayriver.com.

    We're automatically giving all pre-registered couples a $30 refund towards your registration fee prior to the event. However, we understand that the new date and time may not work with your schedule, so you will have the option to refund your registration fee up until the day before the event if you decide you cannot make it. We will follow up via email with instructions on how to request a full refund as soon as they are available. There will also be no race t-shirt this year.

  • 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. 

  • 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 wife-carrying.org

  • Watch as two wacky couples compete for beer and glory at the North American Wife Carrying Championship. Available to rent or download on TV On-Demand August 3, 2020

  • If you are looking to plan a wife carrying event in your area, it's quite simple. Below you will find key information including required rules and regulations to ensure that your event will be considered a sanctioned event by the North American Wife Carrying Championship.

    What is Wife Carrying?

    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.

    What do they win?

    This is entirely up to you. For our event, we give away the wife's weight in beer, and 5 times her weight in cash. Plus the top three teams get medals. We also give medals away to the winners of the fastest couple collectively weighing over 350 pounds and for the fastest couple whose combined age is over 80.

    North American Rules & Regulations

    The North American rules and regulations for wife carrying vary slightly from the World Championship rules on several points. The list below is the official set of rules and regulations for the North American Championship and are followed by most state and regional qualifying events.

    • Competitors
      1. Teammates are not required to be legally married.
      2. Helmets are not required for the carried competitor. 
      3. The only special equipment allowed to be worn by the carrier is a belt, which is optional.
      4. There is no minimum weight limit for female competitors. 
    • Competition 
      1. Competitors run the course two at a time in initial heats, with each team being timed. The two fastest teams qualify for a final heat, which may be timed or untimed, with the winner of the final heat being the winner of the event. Because the final heat is determined by time, qualifying teams do not necessarily have to win their initial heat. Additional heats may be run for third place, and on.
      2. If a competitor drops his teammate, the team will be penalized with five seconds added to their time.
      3. Teams may not advance on the course without the wife being carried and will be disqualified if they do so.
      4. There is no restriction on how the female teammate is carried. Several types of carry are commonly used including the Piggyback and Fireman's Carry (over the shoulder), but the most popular is the Estonian Carry (the wife hangs upside-down with her legs around the husband's shoulders, holding onto his waist).
    • Course
      1. Length of course is 254 meters / 278 yards. North American courses are typically run on uneven ground with some level of elevation change.
      2. Course design consists of two dry obstacles and one water obstacle. Specific obstacle designs may vary by course and by year.

    Sanctioning an Event

    • Ensures a commitment by the event organizer that the event will be conducted in accordance with the North American Wife Carrying sanctioning guidelines. 
    • Ensures that the event will be conducted in a fair and safe manner. 
    • Ensures that the event meets a standard of quality required for sanctioning by North American Wife Carrying. 
    • Allows new event organizers to reach out to the North American Wife Carrying organizers at Sunday River for advice where needed, and connects people who request events around the world relative to their area. 
    • Adds a level of prestige to new events, and increases awareness through a listing on Sunday River's event page. 

    To sanction an event, send the following information to events@sundayriver.com

    • Event director name
    • Phone
    • Event director address
    • Email
    • Date of event
    • Location of event
    • Start and end time
    • Website
    • Entry fee
  • For media inquiries, photos, and videos of past events, and press access, please contact communications@sundayriver.com.  Other inquiries should be sent to events@sundayriver.com. North American Wife Carrying Championship is a trademark of Sunday River Skiway Corporation.

Stay the Weekend

Stay the Weekend

Book Lodging
How to: North American Wife Carrying Championship How to: North American Wife Carrying Championship