Wisconsin Couple Takes Home Cash and Beer Prize in 23rd Annual North American Wife Carrying Championship
NEWRY, MAINE (October 8, 2022)—Finishing with a time of 54.64 seconds, North American Wife Carrying Champions Caleb and Justine Roesler of Team Silly Sconnies from Waukesha, Wisconsin, were crowned the winners of the 23rd annual event held at Sunday River Resort.
Team Silly Sconnies competed against 18 other couples to make it to the final round against competitors Thomas Trundy and Koley True of Team Guac ‘N Roll, who finished the race with a time of 1:03:76. Team Silly Sconnies took home six cases of beer as well as five times Roesler’s weight in cash, totaling $511.Team Guac ‘N Roll took home True’s weight in beer and three cases of soda.
Third place was awarded to John Lund and Karen May of Team Hugs, Kisses, & Chicken Stock II with a time of 1:04.19, who beat out Jesse Wall and Christine Arsenault of the appropriately named Team John Lund is a Legend!, with a time of 1:05.23. First place for the Clydesdale category—a couple who have a combined weight of over 350 pounds—was awarded to Patrick DeKelly and Angela Garabet of Team Python and Pushups, with a time of 1:22.97. Team John Lund is a Legend! also won the combined age of over 80 category.
The Roeslers traveled from Wisconsin after winning a local Wife Carrying competition in their area and are first-time winners of the North American championship. They intend to travel from Wisconsin again next year to compete to defend their title, and are hoping they can travel to Finland for the World Championships in summer 2023. Another notable team, Chris and Laurin Briggs of Team Newlyweds, were married the night before the championship at the Jordan Hotel at Sunday River. Undoubtedly a special way to celebrate their union, Team Newlyweds finished their run with a time of 2:30.05.
About the North American Wife Carrying Championship:
Built to international specifications, the North American Wife Carrying Championship course is 278 yards in length, with a log hurdle, a sand dune, and one water obstacle often referred to as the "widow maker". Choice of hold is up to each couple, most of whom choose the Estonian Carry where the woman's thighs rest on the main's shoulders in an upside down piggyback. Helmets are not required but often used.
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 "man and wife" 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 one 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.