Wife Carrying
In North America


History

Wife Carrying originated in Finland, and its history is based around the 19th century legend of Herkko Rosvo-Ronkainen, or “Ronkainen the Robber.” There are three stories as to how the sport was created. First, Ronkainen and his thieves were accused of stealing food and women from villages in the area he lived in; then carried these women on their backs as they ran away. Second, it has been said the men would go to villages near their own to steal other mens’ wives, and then have the woman become their own wife. Third is the story that Ronkainen trained his thieves by carrying big, heavy sacks on their backs, which could have eventually evolved to a sport.

The first modern day wife carrying event was held in Finland in 1992 and foreign contestants were admitted in 1995. This event is now held annually in Sonkajärvi, Finland as the World Championship. A North American Championship was started in 1999.

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. Winners of 13 U.S. state events and two Canadian provincial events have competed in the North American Championship. Winners have the option of competing in the World Championships and have placed as high as fifth.

The North American Championship holds registration spots open for winners of any sanctioned state, provincial or regational 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.

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. (The Worlds requires a helmet.)
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 the female competitor. (The Worlds set a weight limit of 49 kilograms / 108 pounds, and weight belts are used to make up any difference in weight.)

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 win their initial heat. Additional heats may be run for third place, and on.
2) If a competitor drops his teammate, thire 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 chang.e (The Worlds are run on a flat track).
2) Course design includes of two dry obstacles and one water obstacle. Specific obstacle designs may vary by course and by year.

Contacts & Event Sanctioning

Sunday River Resort owns the North American Wife Carrying Championship and serves as the sanctioning body for the sport in the U.S. and Canada. To sanction a wife carrying event in the U.S. or Canada and pre-qualify winners for the North American Championship contact Caroline Ochtera at Sunday River.

For media inquiries regarding the North American Championship including photos and video of past events, and press access for future events contact Sarah Devlin at Sunday River.

More Information

North American Wife Carrying Championship Official Site

World Wife Carrying Championship Official Site

Wife Carrying on Wikipedia

 

 

The North American Wife Carrying Championship is a U.S. Trademark 85775335 and used here by permission.


2012 World and North American Champion
Taisto Miettinen and Kristina Haapenen

2010 & 2011 North American Champions
Rocco Andreozzi and Kim Wasco


2011 North American Champions
Dave and Lacey Castro