Win Your Wife's Weight in Beer

Head to Sunday River, Maine, this weekend to compete in the North American Wife Carrying Championship—a battle of strength, endurance, and ridiculousness.


Ten years ago, a Bethal, Maine, local pitched the idea of having a wife-carrying event to the people at Sunday River. The competition—which entails one team member carrying another while navigating obstacle courses longer than two football fields—are big in Finland. He thought it would be fun to have one in Maine.

The Sunday River crew found out there wasn’t anything like it going on in the States and decided to give it a shot. They called it the North American Wife Carrying Championship. Because why not?

“We figured we’d slap (the name) on and see if sticks,” says Sunday River’s director of marketing Nick Lambert.

It stuck. They’re still doing it. The 10th annual event is scheduled for this weekend.

“We thought it would be funny,” Lambert says. “Maybe do it for a couple seasons, get some people from around New England.”

The event has gotten way more attention than anyone at Sunday River ever expected. People from other states have called asking if they can send their state champions. Some have called wondering if the event has a governing body. Canada usually sends a team. This year, the World’s Fittest Man, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, is flying in from California to compete.

“The deeper you dig, the more bizarre it gets,” Lambert says. “There’s a lot of pointing and laughing.”

The 287-yard course is situated on the lower slopes of the resort and includes mud pits and log hurdles. The winning strategy has always been the use of the incredibly awkward looking Estonian Carry, where the woman is hanging upside down with her arms wrapped around the guys’ waist and her quads resting on his shoulders.

And the best part of the whole thing is the prize. The winning team gets the woman’s weight in beer and five times her weight in cash. []