Wife Carrying Contest Tests Strength and Love
The main rule of this contest: don't drop your wife! 👰
All participants must enjoy themselves
This is wife-carrying. (Yes, you read that right) It’s a real sport to test your physical strength and marriage. For some couples, a lot is at stake: The obstacle course is 278 yards long and consists of hurdles, a watery mud pit, and an unsteady sand hill. There might be a few stumbles along the way and sometimes expectation doesn't meet reality.
The sport is said to have begun in 19th-century Finland, where legend tells, Ronkainen the Robber stole women from villages on his back, prompting the tradition. 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. Several types of carrying may be practiced: either a classic piggyback, a fireman's carry (over the shoulder), or Estonian style The choice of hold is up to each couple, but many choose the Estonian Carry where the woman's thighs rest on the man's shoulders in an upside-down piggyback. Helmets are not required but often used. For 2019, couples traveled from as far as California to compete.
Traditionally each team was composed of a husband and a wife couple, however this is no longer standard practice. The objective is for the male to carry the female through a special obstacle track in the fastest time. The sport may have been first introduced at Sonkajärvi, Finland but in North America, contestants do not have to be married or even in a romantic relationship. They must be over 21, and the "wife" must weigh at least 108 pounds or wear weights to reach the requirement. The first-place winner scores their wife’s weight in beer, five times her weight in cash, and a chance to go to Finland for the world championships. The most important rule? "All participants must enjoy themselves.”