Sunday River will host the 11th Annual North American Wife Carrying Championships (NAWCC) on Saturday, October 9 as part of its Fall Festival Weekend. The Maine-based resort’s event marks couples’ last chance to qualify for the World Wife Carrying Championship in Finland held in July of next year, and touts a prize list including the wife’s weight in beer, five times her weight in cash, and serious bragging rights.
“The North American Wife Carrying Championship brings people from all over the U.S. to compete,” Resort President for Sunday River, Dana Bullen, says. “For some, this event is part of a bucket list and something they’ve trained for. For others, it’s a challenge they’ve decided to sign up for on the day-of the event.”
The most challenging aspect of wife carrying remains the actual carry. Over the past decade, championship couples have all favored the highly technical Estonian carry, which requires the carried partner to hold on, upside down and backwards in a piggyback-like fashion.
Last year’s champions, Dave and Lacy Casto from Lewiston, Maine, beat out a field of 46 couples coming from as far away as California with a time of 54.45 seconds. The Castros used the Estonian carry to win.
Teams must be comprised of a male and a female competitor, both at least 21 years old. Couples do not need to be married and can choose which teammate is carried as well as carrying technique used.
Held outside of Sunday River’s South Ridge Base Lodge, the 278-yard wife carrying course includes uphill running, log hurdles, and the always crowd-pleasing 10-meter long waist-deep water obstacle.
Based on Finnish history, wife carrying for sport originated in the nineteenth century after the practice was used to require strong physical standards on men looking to join the local band of arms. To qualify, men had to complete a course with a heavy sack on their backs, which were often substituted for women from neighboring villages.
Registration for the NAWCC is available online and open until the day of the event. Cost is $45 per team. For more information on the NAWCC or any of the events happening during this Fall Festival Weekend, visit www.sundayriver.com.
Photo: The Estonian method was the key to victory in 2009 – Credit: Sunday River