In the tradition of Herkko Rosvo-Ronkainen, the Finnish thief who would raid villages and make off with the residents' wives, the Wife Carrying World Championships are hosted each July in Sonkajarvi, Finland. They're a far cry from Rosvo-Ronkainen's legacy, but the WTF nature of the event has inspired much international appeal.
As a part of this year's Winter Carnival and Family Fun Day, the Lookout Pass Ski Area in Mullan will host its very own time-trial wife-carrying event, for the sixth year in a row. The fun begins early on Sunday, Jan.15, with registration for couples at 9 a.m. and the contest starting at 1 p.m.
"Basically, we run the contestants in heats," said Bill Jennings with Lookout Pass. "We separate it by age: 20-30, 30-40, and 50-plus."
Though it's called a wife-carrying contest, participants are welcome to bring any significant other or partner, Jennings said.
But make no mistake, these competitions are serious business. The finalists in the North American championships in Newry, Maine, are awarded enough cash for travel expenses to the World Championships in Finland.
"Estonian style" is the position of choice for most pros—the partner hangs from the runner's shoulders upside down, arms around the waist. Place in the top three and you'll
walk limp away with a cash prize.
You can view a schedule of events at Lookout Pass here.