Rocco Andreozzi from Bethel, Maine, and Kim Wasco from Farmington, Maine, won the 11th Annual North American Wife Carrying Championship, which took place this morning at Sunday River Ski Resort located in Newry, Maine.
Both first time competitors, Andreozzi and Wasco walked away with prizes including cash equal to six times Wasco’s weight plus six cases of Shocktop beer, equal to Wasco’s weight of 127 pounds.
Photo: The winning couple in all their glory – Credit: Sunday River Ski Resort
With a winning time of 1:01.91 seconds, Andreozzi and Wasco beat second place finishers Jesse Wall and Christine Arsenault (from South Paris and Portland, Maine) by 16.6 seconds. Wall and Arsenault finished the championship heat with a time of 1:18:77 seconds.
Today’s victory also qualifies Andreozzi and Wasco for the World Wife Carrying Championship held next July in Finland.
The 11th Annual North American Wife Carrying Championship drew in 50 teams comprised of couples from all over the United States and Canada including Markus Raty and Joline Matika, both from Toronto and known for their wins at the Canadian Wife Carrying Championship 2003-2005.
For this event, couples navigate a 278-yard obstacle course while the man carries his wife or teammate over hurdles and through the infamous water trap commonly referred to as the widow maker.
Teams do not have to be married to enter, but they must be comprised of a man and a woman and both must be over the age of 21.
The carry is the competitors’ choice, though most use the “Estonian” carry where the “wife” holds her husband around his waist and tightens her legs around his neck, thereby freeing the husband’s hands.
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.