Oct 9, 2021
Team Lovebirds were awarded $620 and six cases of beer at Maine ski area’s Fall Festival

Three-Time Champions Take Home Cash and Beer in 22nd Annual North American Wife Carrying Championships

NEWRY, MAINE (October 9, 2021)—Olivia and Jerome Roehm made history today as the first couple to win the North American Wife Carrying Championship at Sunday River for three years consecutively. The couple from Newark, Delaware, dubbed Team Lovebirds, completed their final heat in 1:04.79.

Team Lovebirds competed against 12 other couples to make it to the final round against competitors Alex Nielsen and Brigid Griffin of Team Honey Buns, who finished with a time of 01:35.97 in the finals. The Roehm’s took home $620, six cases of Shipyard Finder IPA beer, and gained entry into the World Wife Carrying Championship in Finland next summer, while Nielsen and Griffin were awarded 10 cases of soda and two cases of beer for second place. Team Honey Buns also scored first prize in the Clydesdale category, awarded to the fastest couple with a combined weight of over 350 pounds.

Third place was awarded to team Bottoms Up, Adam and Liza Drew of Harrisville, New Hampshire, who finished with a time of 01:23.39. The first place in the combined age of over 80 category was awarded to team Chicken Fried Tofu, Chris Smith and Erin Pappal of Portland, Maine, with a time of 01:35.31.

Built to international specifications, the North American Wife Carrying Championship course is 278 yards in length, with one log hurdle, one water obstacle referred to as the "Widow Maker," and a sand hill. Choice of carry is up to each couple, most of whom choose the Estonian Carry where the woman’s thighs rest on the man’s shoulders in an upside down piggyback. Helmets are not required but often used. For 2021, couples traveled from as far as California to compete.

The North American race format varies slightly from Finland’s World Championship in that there is no minimum weight limit for the wife and the pair must both be 21 years old. Additionally, a head-to-head final race between the top two fastest couples determines the North American Championship couple, rather than a single run-for-time format at the World Championships.

Based on the 19th century Finnish legend, wife-carrying became a sport as a result of men stealing wives from neighboring villages as means to prove their worth and strength to famed henchman, Herkko Ronkainen, also known as Ronkainen the Robber. Men who were able to carry their stolen wives in the wilderness, over stones, stumps, fences and springs, were accepted into Ronkainen's privileged group of thieves.

Full Results:

Bib Number

Team Name


First Heat




Olivia & Jerome Roehm




Honey Buns

Brigid Griffin & Alex Nielsen




Bottoms Up

Liza & Alex Drew




Silver Snakes

Casey & David Hunt




Chicken Fried Tofu

Erin Pappal & Chris Smith




Here for the Beer

Grace Tripp & Darrell Van Meter




Moose & Muffin

Alexandria Gabriel & Jonathan Mendez




Team High & Dry

Wendy Hallenbeck & Greg Goodhue




20 Strong

Susan & Chad Rowley




Wayland Wife Carrying Warriors

Kelley & Ryan Wade




Team Backpack

Erin & John Bates




Flabs & Abs

Laurie Chiodo & Rob Baker




California Dreamin’

Iris Leutenegger & Jeff Richards



About Sunday River Resort: Sunday River Resort is located minutes from picturesque Bethel Village in western Maine's Mahoosuc Mountains. A true four-season destination, Sunday River offers eight interconnected peaks of world-class skiing and snowboarding, an 18-hole golf course at the Sunday River Golf Club, two resort hotels and an inn, and numerous events throughout the year. Sunday River is a member of the Boyne Resorts family of resorts and attractions.

About the North American Wife Carrying Championship: The North American Wife Carrying Championship was founded in 1999 at Sunday River Resort in Maine and has been held annually in mid-October at this location ever since. The North American Championship holds registration spots open for winners of any sanctioned state, provincial, or regional wife carrying events, and provides entry to these competitors at no cost, then opens any remaining spots for public registration. The winning team brings home the wife's weight in beer and five times her weight in cash. More information at wife-carrying.org.


Media Contact: Abby Borron, Communications Manager