Bethel: The North American Wife Carrying Championship

Fall: Every fall the small mountain village of Bethel, Maine, hosts a vigorous physical competition that draws a big fun loving crowd to Sunday River Ski Resort. The event is The North American Wife Carrying Championship. The competition’s bizarre history comes from the country of Finland where centuries ago, men would steal wives from neighboring villages. The modern day event is a test of physical strength and stamina in a fun family friendly atmosphere. These teams of a man and women (who don’t have to be married) have to navigate a 278 yard course full of obstacles including a 20 foot long pit filled with water three feet deep, all the while the women are being carried. Competitiors take this event very seriously using different carrying styles, and receive penalty points if the carried wife is dropped. So what do the winners receive for their hard work to win this weird title? They win the wife’s weight in beer, and three times her weight in cash. First place winners also qualify to enter the World Championships in Finland. To compete participants must be at least 21 years old, and come ready to have some fun.