North American Wife Carrying Championship Winners

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Virginia Couple Wins North American Wife Carrying Championship at Sunday River Resort

Jake and Kirsten Barney of Lexington, Virginia win championship title, 12 cases of beer, and $630 in cash

October 7, 2017

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Newry, Maine (Oct. 7, 2017)-Redemption was the name of the game at today's 18th annual North American Wife Carrying Championship at Sunday River Resort.

During the 2016 North American Wife Carrying Championships, Jake and Kirsten Barney from Lexington, Virginia raced against Giana and Elliot Storey of Westbrook, Maine only to take second place. Today, the Barneys and the Storeys again qualified for the finals, only this time the Barneys took the North American Wife Carrying Championship win, beating the Storeys by less than two seconds.

This is the Barney's second time competing in the North American Wife Carrying Championship and their first time ever winning it. Seasoned competitors, they also happen to be the 2016 Wyoming Wife Carrying Champions.  

Thanks to their qualifying time of 58.26 seconds, the Barneys will bring home the North American Championship title, 12 cases of Goose Island beer, and five times her weight in cash ($630). North American wife-carrying champions also qualify for the World Wife Carrying Championship event that takes place in Finland every summer. 

Second place finishers, the Storeys, remained close on the Barneys' heels during the final run, crossing the finish line with a time of 59.07 seconds.

Built to international specifications, the North American Wife Carrying Championship course is 278 yards in length, with two log hurdles, and one water obstacle often referred to as the "widow maker."

Choice of hold is up to each couple, most of whom choose the Estonian Carry where the woman's thighs rest on the man's shoulders in an upside down piggyback. Helmets are not required but often used.

The North American race format varies slightly from Finland's World Championship in that there is no minimum weight limit for the wife and the "man and wife" pair must both be 21 years old.  

Additionally, a head-to-head final race between the top two fastest couples determines the North American Championship couple, rather than a one-run for time format at the World Championships.

Based on the 19th-century Finnish legend, wife-carrying became a sport as a result of men stealing wives from neighboring villages as means to prove their worth and strength to the famed henchman, Herkko Ronkainen, also known as Ronkainen the Robber. Men who were able to carry their stolen wives in the wilderness, over stones, stumps, fences, and springs, were accepted into Ronkainen's privileged group of thieves.

For more information on the 18th annual North American Wife Carrying Championship at Sunday River, please contact Darcy Lambert at 207-824-5243 or You may also visit

About Sunday River Resort
A four-season destination, Sunday River Resort is home to eight interconnected mountain peaks of world-class skiing and snowboarding. The resort includes 135 trails and 6 terrain parks on 870 skiable acres and the most slopeside lodging in the East: Two Resort Hotels, the Snow Cap Inn, Ski Dorm, and hundreds of slopeside condominiums on-site. Sunday River is a member of the Boyne Resorts family of resorts and attractions and is located in Newry, Maine, amidst the scenic Mahoosuc Range.

About the North American Wife Carrying Championship
The North American Wife Carrying Championship was founded in 1999 at Sunday River Resort in Maine and has been held annually in mid-October at this location ever since. 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. More information at