Wife-carrying World Championship

Sonkajärvi 5th – 6th July 2024

Do you know where wife carrying originated from?

The Story of Robber ROnkainen

”This is the story of the beginning of Wife Carrying and Herkko ‘Robber’ Ronkainen, the famous bandit chief. It was during the famine years, and in Sonkajärvi, Upper Savonia, Finland, hunger was rampant. Bread flour was mixed with bark. The poor apprentice cobbler Herkko and his wife were also struggling. His wife kept nagging, and the food ran out of the house. Herkko took his belongings and went to live in the dark forests of Sonkajärvi, far away from hunger and the annoying wife. Hunting for game became difficult and lonely work for him, so Herkko came up with the idea to steal grain from houses. Herkko turned into a real fierce bandit, around whom other men tired of their living conditions began to gather. There was a demand to join the bandit group, and a test of manhood was conducted for entry. Strength was measured by carrying sacks of grain on their backs, and the fastest and strongest earned their place in Ronkainen’s ranks. Life in the bandit camp continued for decades, alternating between hunting, raiding for grain, and sometimes women. Ronkainen became a legend, and his wild stories lived on, forming the beginning of Wife Carrying, where strength is measured in a wild and fun way by carrying a wife across lakes, cliffs, and hills.”

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