White People Fun: The North American Wife-Carrying Contest

Jessica Keefe, celebrates after her husband, Michael Keefe, of Madbury, N.H., made it through the mud pit during the North American Wife Carrying Championship, Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016, at the Sunday River Ski Resort in Newry, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

*I got married the first time when I was young and strong, and I carried my wife for almost 14 years.

Who knew that if I’d LITERALLY carried her for just under 300 yards, I could have won lots of beer and cash?  

Who knew there were annual wife-carrying contests throughout the world?  The genre’s name is a misnomer, as you don’t actually  have to be married to throw a woman over your shoulders and navigate a few challenging, muddy, watery obstacle courses on your way to the grand prize!

I haven’t managed to find one African American couple who competed this year.  Didn’t really surprise me.  White people can come up with the damndest stuff!  

This year’s North American Wife Carrying Championship took place last week in Newry, Maine.  (Maine.  That’s probably part of why no black folks were around.)

44 couples competed, being tested by an obstacle course that included log hurdles, sand traps, and lots of mud.

Peter Ver Ploeg carries Virginia Petrovek through the mud pit during the North American Wife Carrying Championship, Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016, at the Sunday River Ski Resort in Newry, Maine. The couple, from Portland, Maine, has been married for one year. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

That’s another barrier for us.  Sistahs are NOT feeling the mud in the weave.  Nope.  

As the event’s name states, the man has to carry his female partner through the whole 278-yard course — that’s almost three football fields, people.  The couple with the fastest time wins the woman’s weight in beer and an amount of cash equal to five times her weight.

Five times my ex-wife’s weight in cash.  We could have put the kids through college.

The winners also get to go to the world championships, which will be held in Finland next summer.

Finland.  Again, not a traditional vacation spot for colored people.  

Competing men carry the woman any way they want, but the preferred method is the “Estonian” carry, where the woman holds the man’s waist with her hands while squeezing his neck with her legs.



Wife-carrying is based on a legendary Finnish robber who allegedly wouldn’t let anyone join his gang unless they could complete a difficult course with a heavy sack on their back.  Some say the initiation also included stealing women from neighboring villages.


The first modern-day wife-carrying event was held in 1991.

Live and learn!

I wanna get back to that “Estonian” carry.  You remember: that woman-on-the-man’s-shoulders-with-his-head-being-squeezed- between-her-legs thing.  


Maybe I should start training for next year!


This blog was written by freelancer Michael P Coleman.  Connect with him at michaelpcoleman.com or on Twitter:  @ColemanMichaelP 


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