You may have seen a news clip on Good Morning America or watched a video on You Tube. Now you can see it live right here in New York State. Announcing the Generations Bank Empire State Carrying Championships. The event will be held August 31 at Three Brothers Estates and Wineries, 623 Lerch Road, Geneva, beginning at 6 p.m. Proceeds will benefit Beverly Animal Shelter and American Red Cross in the Finger Lakes.
In a carrying championship, a man carries a woman over an obstacle-strewn course. The winning team will receive the woman’s weight in wine. To enter, visit the website at www.empirestatecarryingchampionship.com.
Organizer Mark Benjamin said he was trying to think of a “Novel, unique event to bring to the area that would end the summer on a high note” when he learned about the Carrying Championships. “Not everyone can do a 5K,” he said, “so this seemed just what we were looking for.”
Begun in Finland in the 19th century, the Carrying Championships were created by Rankainen the Robber, who was looking for a way to test the strong physical requirements he had for the men in his band. To qualify, men had to complete a difficult course with a heavy sack on their backs. The more daring of the rogues went to the neighboring village and stole women to use in place of the heavy sacks.
The Generations Bank Empire State Championships will be run on a 375 yard course on uneven terrain through the vineyards, said race director Jen Stanton. “They will have to go over, under and through a series of obstacles, including a water obstacle.”
“The modern wife-carrying event is a true test of physical strength, agility and teamwork between the man and the woman,” said committee member Greg Zellers. He noted that similar events have been held in Sunday River Resort in Maine for more than a decade. There, the winning time was 49.64 seconds.
Benjamin said future plans are to send the Empire State Champion to compete in the Maine Event on Columbus Day weekend.
The committee decided to make the event a benefit for the Beverly Animal Shelter and American Red Cross in the Finger Lakes because both are humanitarian, rescue organizations, said committee member Paula Martinetti.
“We are grateful to Generations Bank for stepping up to become the naming sponsor for this exciting event,” said Taylor Elliott, who is heading funding opportunities for the Carrying Championships. Elliott said additional sponsorships are available, as well as opportunities to contribute to the goodie bags for participants. For more information, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Generations Bank Empire State Carrying Championship is planned to be a major tourism event for Seneca County. Families are encouraged to come and cheer for their favorite team, said committee member Lynne Tyler. “We are issuing the challenge to all area EMT corps, police and fire departments, National Guard units and service men and women from Fort Drum to Niagara Falls to New York City to come and compete to see if they have the right stuff. And if they like, they can share their prize with their whole department!”
The competition will be held in heats, culminating in the championship carry. Following the event, spectators are encouraged to stay and enjoy the music of the popular band, The Dirty Birds.
“We hope everyone will come and enjoy this fun family event,” said Benjamin. “Enjoy good food, good fun and help out two good causes.”
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