Just for laughs: first annual wife-carrying contest in Gatineau

Serious news has its place, especially on a station that takes news seriously.

But there’s nothing wrong with a good laugh now and then, as far as I am concerned.

So, in the not-to-be-taken-too-seriously department, here’s the announcement for the first wife-carrying contest I’m aware of in my region. (Note the inclusive, non-sexist spirit of the contest.)

Though aware of the sport, I was unaware of this event, which took place this past Sunday at Camp Fortune in Gatineau.

Fortunately, the Ottawa Citizen provided this post-event pictorial gallery. (Nice work by photographer Mike Carroccetto.)

Supposedly, wife carrying may have originated as a violent raid to capture women. Not funny. Not at all.

But we live in an era that finds ways to mock the unacceptable, to create new traditions  and invent more and more ways to be athletic, oh yes! And there’s little doubt this demands a high level of athleticism – for carrier and cargo.

You might think all the incentive would be to enter with the lightest “wife” possible. That’s isn’t necessarily so: many contests have a minimum weight – and the prize is typically the “wife’s” weight in beer.

Spousal team demonstrating the “Estonian Carry” technique in a World Wife- Carry Championship event in Finland. Photo: Steve Jurvetson via FLickr, CC some rights reserved.

The world championships are held each July in Finland. That was won for the 4th straight time this past summer by lawyer Taisto Miettinen and his wife Kristiina Haapanenand. In this video of the contest Miettinen states that he trained hard to up his endurance and speed.

A resort in Maine will host what it bills as the North American Wife Carrying Championship this coming Oct 6th. (Registration is full apparently.)

According to “How to become a master in wife carrying” (from the Finnish contest’s website) the sport has a lot of offer:

The wife carrying is an attitude towards life. The wives and the wife carriers are not afraid of challenges or burdens. They push their way persistently forward, holding tightly, generally with a twinkle in the eyes.

It doesn’t really matter who’s on the bottom and who’s over the shoulder (which has emerged as the preferred carrying posture). Like so many other endeavors, this one comes down to attitude.


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2 Comments on “Just for laughs: first annual wife-carrying contest in Gatineau”

  1. Paul says:

    The water hazard looks pretty scary when they hit it. I would maybe wear a snorkel along with the helmet if I was on top. Finland is a great place.

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  2. Lucy Martin says:

    A NYT mention took me to this in-depth coverage of the North American Wife Carrying Championships from the Oxford Hills Sun Journal. (The event took place Saturday Oct 6th.)

    The four-time world champs from Finland won.

    Clearly, North Americans need to study up on European mastery of this skill.

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