Sam Brakeley and Steph Reighart of Lebanon, New Hampshire won the 16th Annual North American Wife Carrying Championship this weekend by completing the internationally sanctioned 278-yard obstacle course in 1 hour, 5 minutes, and 30 seconds. Per the rules, the winning couple took home the wife’s weight in beer and 5 times her weight in cash — 120-bottles of Shocktop Shocktober, and $750.60. Sun Journal describes the winning “couple” as “simply friends and housemates,” which is perfectly legal according to the rules but, much like baseball’s designated hitter, is probably viewed as total bullshit by traditionalists.
Much like marathons or the Olympics, wife carrying is rooted in historical precedent. According to a 19th century Finnish legend, “Ronkainen the Robber” used a similar challenge for men who wanted to join his gang to prove their worth. Finland turned this legend into a modern competition in 1991, eventually opening up the event to international qualifiers in 1995. In 1999, North America got its own sanctioning body, allowing Americans and Canadians the chance to run, argue, apologize, and continue running the official course, which features log hurdles, sand traps, and a “widow maker” water hazard. Winners qualify for the world championship in Finland, where Americans have only ever ranked as high as fifth place. Looking to try your hand at wife carrying? According to event organizer Sunday River, which this year saw 50 competing couples and thousands of spectators, you’d be wise to work on your “Estonian carry,” the most popular carrying method “where the female participant holds the male around the waist and tightens her legs around his neck, thereby freeing his hands.” You might also want to work on screaming, “This is garbage because we have rings and that guy just has a ringer!”