|NEWRY, MAINE (October 9, 2021)—Olivia and Jerome Roehm made history today as the first couple to win the North American Wife Carrying Championship at Sunday River for three years consecutively. The couple from Newark, Delaware, dubbed Team Lovebirds, completed their final heat in 1:04.79.
Team Lovebirds competed against 12 other couples to make it to the final round against competitors Alex Nielsen and Brigid Griffin of Team Honey Buns from Cincinnati, Ohio, who finished with a time of 01:35.97 in the finals. The Roehm’s took home $620, six cases of Shipyard Finder IPA beer, and gained entry into the World Wife Carrying Championship in Finland next summer, while Nielsen and Griffin were awarded 10 cases of soda and two cases of beer for second place. Team Honey Buns also scored first prize in the Clydesdale category, awarded to the fastest couple with a combined weight of over 350 pounds.
Third place was awarded to team Bottoms Up, Adam and Liza Drew of Harrisville, New Hampshire, who finished with a time of 01:23.39. The first place in the combined age of over 80 category was awarded to team Chicken Fried Tofu, Chris Smith and Erin Pappal of Portland, Maine, with a time of 01:35.31.
Built to international specifications, the North American Wife Carrying Championship course is 278 yards in length, with one log hurdle, one water obstacle referred to as the "Widow Maker," and a sand hill. Choice of carry is up to each couple, most of whom choose the Estonian Carry where the woman’s thighs rest on the man’s shoulders in an upside-down piggyback. Helmets are not required but often used. For 2021, couples traveled from as far as California to compete.
The North American race format varies slightly from Finland’s World Championship in that there is no minimum weight limit for the wife and the pair must both be 21 years old. Additionally, a head-to-head final race between the top two fastest couples determines the North American Championship couple, rather than a single run-for-time format at the World Championships.
Based on the 19th-century Finnish legend, wife-carrying became a sport as a result of men stealing wives from neighboring villages as means to prove their worth and strength to famed henchman, Herkko Ronkainen, also known as Ronkainen the Robber. Men who were able to carry their stolen wives in the wilderness, over stones, stumps, fences, and springs, were accepted into Ronkainen's privileged group of thieves.
||Olivia & Jerome Roehm
||Brigid Griffin & Alex Nielsen
||Liza & Alex Drew
||Casey & David Hunt
||Chicken Fried Tofu
||Erin Pappal & Chris Smith
||Here for the Beer
||Grace Tripp & Darrell Van Meter
||Moose & Muffin
||Alexandria Gabriel & Jonathan Mendez
||Team High & Dry
||Wendy Hallenbeck & Greg Goodhue
||Susan & Chad Rowley
||Wayland Wife Carrying Warriors
||Kelley & Ryan Wade
||Erin & John Bates
||Flabs & Abs
||Laurie Chiodo & Rob Baker
||Iris Leutenegger & Jeff Richards
|About Sunday River Resort:
Sunday River Resort is located minutes from picturesque Bethel Village in western Maine's Mahoosuc Mountains. A true four-season destination, Sunday River offers eight interconnected peaks of world-class skiing and snowboarding, an 18-hole golf course at the Sunday River Golf Club, two resort hotels and an inn, and numerous events throughout the year. Sunday River is a member of the Boyne Resorts family of resorts and attractions.
About the North American Wife Carrying Championship:
The North American Wife Carrying Championship was founded in 1999 at Sunday River Resort in Maine and has been held annually in mid-October at this location ever since. The North American Championship holds registration spots open for winners of any sanctioned state, provincial, or regional wife carrying events, and provides entry to these competitors at no cost, then opens any remaining spots for public registration. The winning team brings home the wife's weight in beer and five times her weight in cash.
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Permission to use and distribute photos and videos from this release is granted with credit to Sunday River Resort.