Events Calendar

Win Your “Wife’s” Weight in Beer

Enter the U.P. Wife Carrying Championships for the Glory
and the Chance to Make it to Nationals!

Date: May 11, 2024
Time: 1pm
Registration Fee: $45 or $50 after May 4
Registration Link:
Spectators: Free

The U.P.  Wife Carrying Championship tasks couples with crossing a 278-yard obstacle course–over hurdles, through a watery mud pit, and up an unsteady sand hill–all for the hopes of winning the “wife’s” weight in beer.

How it Works
The course is built to international specifications at 278 yards in length, with two dry obstacles and one water obstacle. There is no minimum weight limit for the “wife”, and the winner is determined by a head-to-head final race rather than being determined only by the finishing time in the competitor’s initial round. The course is run on uneven ground with elevation changes. Helmets are not required. 

Wife carrying is based on “husband”-and-“wife” teams racing with the “husband” carrying the “wife” through a regulation length obstacle course featuring log hurdles, sand traps, and the always popular water hazard. The fastest two teams from the qualifying round then compete head-to-head in a final heat. Competing couples neither have to be married, nor must they be comprised of a man and a woman, but both must be at least 21 years old to enter. 

How the “wife” is carried is the competitors’ choice, though most use the “Estonian carry” where the female/wife participant holds the male/husband around the waist and tightens their legs around his/her/their neck, thereby freeing his/her/their hands. The winning couple takes home the “wife’s” weight in beer, and qualifies for the North American Championship, which takes place at Sunday River.

What’s The Prize
1st Place: The wife’s weight in beer
2nd Place: $50 Marquette Mountain Gift Card
3rd Place: $25 Marquette Mountain Gift Card
Best Dressed: $25 Marquette Mountain Gift Card
Best Wipeout: $25 Marquette Mountain Gift Card
Oldest Combined Age: $25 Marquette Mountain Gift Card

The North American rules and regulations for wife carrying vary slightly from the World Championship rules on several points. The list below is the official set of rules and regulations for the North American Championship and are followed by most state and regional qualifying events.


  1. Teammates are not required to be legally married.
  2. “Wife” and “husband” can be any combination of she/her, he/him or they/them.
  3. Helmets are not required for the carried competitor. 
  4. The only special equipment allowed to be worn by the carrier is a belt, which is optional.
  5. There is no minimum weight limit for the “wives”. 


  1. Competitors run the course two at a time in initial heats, with each team being timed. The two fastest teams qualify for a final heat, which may be timed or untimed, with the winner of the final heat being the winner of the event. Because the final heat is determined by time, qualifying teams do not necessarily have to win their initial heat. Additional heats may be run for third place, and on.
  2. If a competitor drops there teammate, the team will be penalized with five seconds added to their time.
  3. Teams may not advance on the course without the wife being carried and will be disqualified if they do so.
  4. There is no restriction on how the female/wife teammate is carried. Several types of carry are commonly used including the Piggyback and Fireman’s Carry (over the shoulder), but the most popular is the Estonian Carry (the wife hangs upside-down with her legs around the husband’s shoulders, holding onto his waist).


  1. Length of course is 254 meters / 278 yards. North American courses are typically run on uneven ground with some level of elevation change.
  2. Course design consists of two dry obstacles and one water obstacle. Specific obstacle designs may vary by course and by year.

Wife Carrying originated in Finland, and its history is based around the 19th century legend of Herkko Rosvo-Ronkainen, or “Ronkainen the Robber.” There are three stories as to how the sport was created. First, Ronkainen and his thieves were accused of stealing food and women from villages in the area he lived in; then carried these women on their backs as they ran away. Second, it has been said the men would go to villages near their own to steal other men’s wives, and then have the woman become their own wife. Third is the story that Ronkainen trained his thieves by carrying big, heavy sacks on their backs, which could have eventually evolved to a sport.

The first modern day wife carrying event was held in Finland in 1992 and foreign contestants were admitted in 1995. This event is now held annually in Sonkajärvi, Finland as the World Championship. A North American Championship was started in 1999 and is held at Sunday River, Maine. (exerted from

The U.P. Championships will honor any combination of “husband” and “wife”. Winning couples must be human, however!