7th Annual North American Wife Carrying Championships at Sunday River

By AlpineZone News |
Sep 06 2006 - 11:38 AM

NEWRY, Maine ??” Sunday River will host the 7th Annual North American Wife Carrying Championships (NAWCC) on Saturday, Oct. 7. The event is part of Fall Festival weekend at the resort, which will also include the 19th Annual Summit Challenge Race, live music from Max Creek, beer garden, wine tasting presented by Legends Restaurant, the 23rd Annual Blue Mountain Arts and Craft Fair, children’s games and activities, scenic chairlift rides, wagon rides and more.

The winners of the NAWCC will receive money towards a round-trip ticket to Finland to the World Wife Carrying Championships, five times the wife’s weight in cash, in addition to the traditional prize of the wife’s weight in beer. Prizes are also awarded to second and third place finishers, as well as for special weight and age categories. A full listing of Fall Festival events is available at www.sundayriver.com.

“Fall Festival weekend is not only a time to gather and enjoy the excitement of Wife Carrying and live music, but many of our guests have historically purchased their All For One season passes that weekend as well,” said Dana Bullen, Sunday River’s Managing Director. “This year we’re urging those folks to purchase their passes sooner, as it’s likely we could be sold out because of a successful spring campaign and the fact that we’re selling fewer than last year.”

Couples navigate a 278-yard obstacle while the man is literally “carrying” the women. Women are allowed to carry men as well, which occurred for the first time in 2005. The teams do not have to comprise of married couples, but they must comprise of a man and a woman and both must be at least 21 years old to enter. The carry is the competitors’ choice, though most use the “Estonian” carry, where the “wife” holds her husband around the waist of the husband and tightens her legs around his neck, thereby freeing the husband’s hands.

Besides the annual world competition in Finland, there are several regional competitions in the United States that have developed in recent years. Previous winners of the event at Sunday River have included winners from competitions in Oklahoma and Canada, and most have gone on to compete in the world event.

The legend behind the contest is based in Finnish history. In the 19th century, infamous Ronkainen the Robber had high qualifications for men he accepted into his band. They 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 first modern-day event was held in 1991 and foreign contestants were admitted in 1995. Qualifiers are also held Sweden and Estonia.

Registration is up until the day of the event. Registration Saturday is 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and is $35 per team. The competition begins at noon. For more information on the NAWCC or any of the events happening on Fall Festival weekend at Sunday River guests are urged to log on to www.sundayriver.com.