National, World Titles on the Line in Wife Carrying and Outhouse Racing
16 Oct, 2019By: Michael Popke
You thought Wiffle ball championships were novel. Brace yourself because it's about to seem pretty tame.
This summer saw the crowning of the Blue Kamikazes from Albany, N.Y., as the 2019 National Wiffle League Association champions. But Wiffle ball isn’t the only nontraditional sport with an increasingly popular national tournament.
On Oct. 12, a husband-and-wife team was be crowned king and queen of the 2019 North American Wife Carrying Championship, which took place at the Sunday River Resort’s annual Fall Festival Weekend in Newry, Maine. The 278-yard obstacle course included hurdles, a watery mud pit and an unsteady sand hill. To see how it’s done, click here. The prize: The wife’s weight in beer and five times her weight in cash.
According to wife-carrying.org, the sport originated in Finland and is based on the 19th century legend of Herkko Rosvo-Ronkainen, or “Ronkainen the Robber.”
“There are three stories as to how the sport was created,” the website explains. “First, Ronkainen and his thieves were accused of stealing food and women from villages in the area he lived in; then [they] carried these women on their backs as they ran away. Second, it has been said the men would go to villages near their own to steal other men’s wives, and then have the woman become their own wife. Third is the story that Ronkainen trained his thieves by carrying big, heavy sacks on their backs, which could have eventually evolved [in]to a sport.”
The first modern-day wife carrying event was held in Finland in 1992, and Sonkajärvi, Finland, now hosts the annual World Championship. The North American Wife Carrying Championship debuted in 1999.
One week earlier, Virginia City, Nev., was the site of the 30th Annual World Championship Outhouse Races. The free event dates back to when outdoor plumbing was outlawed in Virginia City, and angry residents took to the streets with their outhouses in protest, according to the Virginia City Tourism Commission.
“This hilarious event pits teams of costumed outhouse racers against each other in an all-out potty race pushing their home-made outhouses down C Street toward the toilet paper finish line to claim the latrine title,” the commission’s website explains, adding that “the Parade of Outhouses” precedes the races.
For complete rules, click here.