This year’s competition took place Saturday at a ski resort in Newry, Maine. Forty-four competing couples put their relationship ― and their muscles ― to the test by running through an obstacle course that included log hurdles, sand traps and mud. Lots and lots of mud.
The couple with the fastest time wins fame, glory, the woman’s weight in beer and an amount of cash equal to five times her weight.
Elliot and Giana Storey of Westbrook, Maine, had the top time of 59.18 seconds and ran away with 11 cases of Goose Island Oktoberfest beer and $665. The Storeys will also have a new story to tell: Saturday’s win qualified them for the world championship wife-carrying competition in Sonkajarvi, Finland, next summer, according to the Bethel Sun Journal.
Competing men can carry their partner any way they choose, but the preferred method is the "Estonian" carry, where the woman holds the man's waist with her hands while squeezing his neck with her legs. The "chicken carry," where she sits on his shoulders, also has its proponents.
Wife carrying as a sport is based on a legendary Finnish robber named Ronkainen, who supposedly wouldn't let anyone join his gang unless they could complete a difficult course with a heavy sack on their back. Ronkainen's initiation challenge may or may not have also involved stealing women from neighboring villages. The first modern-day wife-carrying event took place in 1991, with other competitions following thereafter, according to The Ski Channel.
Alex Gauvin and Casey Maynard didn't win this year's competition, but he won her heart when he proposed to her after finishing their run.