SHERIDAN — Three couples came home with muddy clothes and full pockets following the second annual wife-carrying competition in Ranchester on the Fourth of July.
Zack Petersburg and Janika Sweeney, not married but dating, took the top prize this year, trailing the time from last year’s top couple in Ranchester and national runners-up by two seconds.
Petersburg and Sweeney earned $250, which they said would most likely go toward gas money for an adventure.
Second-place finishers Brian and Lillian Freed earned $150 and third-place finishers Bryan and Lela Belus went home with $100.
Seven couples endured the 278-yard obstacle course featuring two log hurdles, mud pit and a sand mound.
Wife carrying is based on 19th century Finnish legend “Ronkainen the Robber,” who had high qualifications for the men he accepted into his band, according to Sunday River’s website, the location for the North American Wife Carrying Championship. To prove their worth, the website continues, men had to compete through a difficult course with a heavy sack (or woman grabbed from neighboring villages) on their back.
Petersburg and Sweeney have the opportunity to compete at Sunday River Ski Resort in Maine for the national championship later this year.