Sam Brakeley and Steph Reighart run away with the championship title. Rough cut (no reporter narration)
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: The North American Wife Carrying Competition crowned a new champion team on Saturday (October 10). Sam Brakeley and Steph Reighart competed against 30 couples from as far away as Florida, South Carolina, and Colorado, to win the 16th Annual North American Wife Carrying Championship at Sunday River in Maine. Every year, up to 50 couples compete in the competition along a 278-obstacle course up the grassy slopes of Sunday River for cash prizes and beer. This was the first competition for Brakeley and Reighart, who hail from Lebanon, New Hampshire. "Come out of the blocks and you're all ready to go. And then you go up and you keep going up and you keep going up and once you get to the very top of that hill, you're running out of gas," said Brakeley of the difficult terrain, which was laid out slightly differently this year, with a longer and steeper uphill section and an extra hurdle, as well as a sand trap just before the finish line. The winning couple was ecstatic to claim their first North American title with a time of 1:05.30. They took home Reighart's weight in beer which equated to eight 12-packs of Shock Top and two 12-packs of Bud Light, as well as five times her weight in cash for a grand total of $750.60. Brakeley and Reighart join a long and illustrious line of champion wife carriers dating back to 19th Century Finland's "Ronkainen the Robber," who required male recruits to his posse to prove their strength by stealing sacks and sometimes women from neighboring villages. As the new North American Wife Carrying Champions, Brakeley and Reighart qualify to compete in the World Championship in Sonkajärvi, Finland, this July.