Trophy wives: Husbands compete in wife-carrying race in Hungary

October 7, 2020

Some husbands carry their wives across the threshold and call it a day. Others go on to compete in national wife-carrying contests.

That’s right. The sport of wife-carrying originated in Finland as women prodded men to show their strength by carrying them away from their protective fathers. Over the years, this courtship ritual transitioned into a sport.

Today the sport draws many people from different backgrounds and nations. The race is popular among Estonians, Lithuanians, and Scandinavians, although some find it controversial, VOA News reports.

A November 3 race in the eastern village of Tapiobicske was the first one to be held in Hungary. Dozens of couples braved a 260-metre hilly course featuring a water splash zone among other obstacles. Saturday’s race had two rounds and the final competition was held between the top four couples. The winners said they were very proud of their achievement and would love to be able to enter a world championship.

But there’s also a contest in the USA, if Hungary and Finland are too far for competitors to travel for a weekend trip. Founded in 1999 at Sunday River Resort in Maine, the North American Wife Carrying Championship has been held annually in mid-October at this location ever since. Winners of 13 U.S. state events and two Canadian provincial events have competed in the North American Championship. Winners have the option of competing in the World Championships and have placed as high as fifth.

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. Teammates are not required to be legally married, and there is no minimum weight for the carried competitor.

Research contact: @VOANews

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