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Shannon Bryan

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Posted: August 11, 2014

Pick up your wife: Registration open for Wife-Carrying Championships at Sunday River

A good wife is lightweight and not easily dropped. At least it helps during a wife-carrying competition. Registration is now open for the annual Wife-Carrying Championships at Sunday River

Written by: Shannon Bryan

Back in the day, men chose wives for entirely romantic reasons – like land acquisition or lots of money.

Later on, all that “love” stuff came into play (mostly on account of all those John Hughes movies). People started getting married simply because they liked each other.

But since the North American Wife Carrying Championships arrived at Sunday River 15 years ago, it’s not a healthy sense of humor or a pretty smile that modern men wish to wed. Instead, they’re looking for small-framed ladies with a solid grip and dense musculature.

These are the wives championships are made of.

If the name isn’t explanation enough, the Wife Carrying competition involves a guy carrying his wife (or girlfriend or girl he picked up last night with the pretty teeth and a name that’s hard to remember) over a 278-yard course built on the lower slopes of Sunday River Ski Resort. The winner gets the wife’s weight in beer and five times her weight in cash.

Different teams, different forms. Shannon Bryan/mainetoday.com photo from Wife-Carrying Championships in 2012.

Different teams, different forms. Shannon Bryan/mainetoday.com photo from Wife-Carrying Championships in 2012.

The 2014 championships take place on Saturday, October 11. I’m telling you about it now because 50 available spots fill up fast. So if you’re interested, sign up NOW.

The course starts with an uphill run, then ventures through a field of obstacles that include wading through waist-deep water and a series of log hurdles.

If you’re a muscle-bound lady of the house, you can carry your husband, too (or boyfriend or next door neighbor who you occasionally catch going through your refrigerator). Whatever dynamics suit you. I once knew a couple that liked to shoot each other with pellet guns as a way of showing affection, so I won’t judge.

After that, the big question is: How does one carry a wife/husband/friend/coworker/dog-sitter 278 yards?

The “cradle” arrangement works when you’re posing for pictures in a Hawaiian island waterfall, but it lacks long-distance stability.

And sure, you’ve hefted your friends or kids over your shoulder when they’ve overdone it on the mudslides or Halloween candy and they need to be airlifted from your living room floor. But running like that? It’s simply not efficient.

Thus, the “Estonian carry,” wherein the woman (or, like I said, the man) hangs upside down on the man’s back with her arms wrapped around his waist and her legs draped over his shoulders. The position frees the fellow’s arms, which helps with stability and maneuvering over aforementioned obstacles.

Shannon Bryan/mainetoday.com photo from Wife-Carrying Championships in 2012.

Shannon Bryan/mainetoday.com photo from Wife-Carrying Championships in 2012.

Of course, it also puts the lady in a precarious position, with her tush in the air and her face awkwardly close to her husband’s rear end.

Wife carrying has its dangers. But what’s a few dropped wives when you have the potential to win 100 pounds of beer and a pile of cash? Your sweetheart can nurse that concussion with a six-pack and a $500 bill. You’ll also owe her indefinitely, which I hope she’ll remind you of on a regular basis.

Sometimes teams fall down. Shannon Bryan/mainetoday.com photo from Wife-Carrying Championships in 2012.

Sometimes teams fall down. Shannon Bryan/mainetoday.com photo from Wife-Carrying Championships in 2012.

If your ball and chain isn’t keen on the idea — or if you’re ball and chainless — feel free to seek out a teammate. Pairs don’t need to be married, though duos must include a man and a woman and both need to be 21 or older.

A pre-race vow doesn’t hurt either: “to have and to hold, for beer and for cash.”

For more information and to register: www.sundayriver.com

 

More photos from the Wife-Carrying Championships

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