Delaware couple captures North American Wife Carrying Championship

"Boy, you're gonna carry that weight. Carry that weight a long time."

The Beatles sang it 50 years ago. And for the last 20 years, men have been carrying their wives over a 278-yard course in Maine for fame, glory, money -- and lots of beer.

It beats carrying your bride over the threshold.

A Delaware couple won Saturday's annual North American Wife Carrying Championships at Sunday River Resort in Newry, Maine, WGME reported.

Olivia Roehm and Jerome Roehm, of Newark, finished the muddy obstacle course, which included two log hurdles and a water obstacle known as the "Widow Maker," in 55.95 seconds to defeat 44 other couples, the Delaware News Journal reported.

According to the event's website, the winning couple is awarded five times the wife's weight in beer and five times her weight in cash. This year, the Roehms won six cases of beer and $555, WGME reported.

Two Maine couples rounded out the top three: Defending champions Christine Arsenault and Jesse Wall, of Oxford, took second, while Melissa Vigue and Nathan Lewia, of Wells, placed third.

"Really we were just interested in having a fun day," Olivia Roehm said in an interview at the finish line. "So this is awesome!"

"We just came out here to have a great time, and we did. And we happened to win," Jerome Roehm told the News Journal.

The wife-carrying competition is derived from a 19th-century legend in Finland, according to the North American Wife Carrying Championship website. According to legend, "Ronkainen the Robber" had a test for men who wanted to join his band. The men had to complete a difficult course with a heavy sack -- or a woman grabbed from neighboring villages -- on their backs.

The first modern day wife-carrying event was held in Finland in 1991, according to the website. Maine followed suit in 1999.

About the Author