. . . in wife-carrying!
The 9th annual North American Wife Carrying Championship took place on Saturday, October 11, 2008 at Sunday River in Maine. A total of 43 teams signed up for the event. According to the official rules:
Teams are comprised of a male and female competitor, however the female does not need to be the legal wife of the male. Teams also have the option to have the male carried by the female if they so choose. Please note that this season, both team member must be 21 years of age or older.
Carrying methods often include the piggy back or firemen's carry, but teams are encouraged to create their own style. Experienced teams and all winners to date employ the highly-technical Estonian carry, which has the woman upside down with arms wrapped around the man's waist and her legs draped over his shoulders. This frees the man's arms for balance and negotiating the obstacles. The team will have a penalty added to their finish time if the "wife" is dropped.
The 278-yard course is built on the lower slopes of Sunday River Ski Resort. The course begins with an uphill run on a dirt road and continues through a field, a 10-meter long waist-deep water obstacle, and then downhill and over two 39-inch high log hurdles. The course is relatively flat with sections of soft sand and grass, and one hairpin turn. The winners will recieve the wife's weight in beer and the wife's weight times 5 in cash.
The origin of the competition is based in Finnish history. A notorious 19th century character, Rankainen the Robber, imposed strong physical standards on men he considered for his band. To qualify, the men had to complete a difficult course with a heavy sack on their backs. It was also not uncommon for men to steal women from neighboring villages. The concept is a little archaic - but the modernized wife carrying event is all in fun, and in reality, is a true test of physical strength and agility.
The winners, Ri Fahnestock and Sarah Silverberg from Dover, New Hampshire, were awarded Silverberg's weight in beer - five cases of the stuff. They also won five times her weight in cash, or $610, and qualified for the World Wife-Carrying Championship in Finland.
To update the old saying: "The couple that races together, drinks together"?