Winning Couple Makes History at Sunday River’s Wife Carrying Championship
Olivia and Jerome Roehm made history as the first couple to win the North American Wife Carrying Championship at Sunday River for three years consecutively.
The only bummer is they aren't Mainers. Team Lovebirds is from Newark, Delaware, and did the course in 1:04.79.
What does the winning couple win?
They were up against 12 other couples to make it to the final round. Olivia and Jerome took home $620, six cases of Shipyard Finder IPA beer, and gained entry into the World Wife Carrying Championship in Finland next summer. Why $620? It's five times the wife's weight. The beer IS her weight!
Why are the women always upside down?
This is Sunday River's 22nd Annual North American Wife Carrying Championship. The course is made to the specifications to compete internationally. The course is 278 yards in length, with one log hurdle, one water obstacle referred to as the "Widow Maker," and a sandhill. You can carry your wife any way you want. Most do the awkward-looking Estonian Carry where the woman’s thighs rest on the man’s shoulders in an upside-down piggyback. This is serious stuff. Couples came from as far away as California!
What exactly IS the wife carrying sport?
It's based on a19th-century Finnish legend. Wife-carrying became a sport as a result of men stealing wives from neighboring villages as means to prove their worth and strength to famed henchman, Herkko Ronkainen, also known as Ronkainen the Robber. Men who were able to carry their stolen wives in the wilderness, over stones, stumps, fences, and springs, were accepted into Ronkainen's privileged group of thieves. That's a hell of a legend.
About 20 years ago, I competed in this! I was carried piggyback and my partner damn near died. Back then there were no water pits, no logs, no sandpits. We came in SECOND to last. Would you do this? Hell, COULD you do this?