The way these grown men are falling all over themselves, you'd think they are vying for some great treasure. However, the prize at the end of this rough and tumble race is a 7 pound wheel of Double Gloucester Cheese! Welcome to the wacky annual cheese-rolling contest that took place in Gloucestershire, England, last week.
The race, which supposedly dates back to the 1800's, involves fearless men and women who run/tumble down 200 meters of a really steep hill trying to catch a cheese wheel. The person who catches it first, wins the race. Over the years, the race has become so popular, that there are now five races, including one for women, each with about 20 competitors. Children get to compete by walking uphill, which is as difficult though not as dangerous.
Injuries of all sorts are so common that 25 members of St. John's Ambulance volunteer for the event, ready to ferry the injured away. This year was no exception. 20-year old Christian Anderson, who won his third race in four years, had to be wheeled out on a stretcher after he hurt his back during the race. Luckily, it was nothing serious and he soon returned to cheer the rest of the contestants. This does not however deter the contestants from coming year after year. One young man who broke his leg and had to spend four days in the hospital, promised to come back next year and win.
This year, over three thousand people braved heavy rains and strong winds to come watch this increasingly popular event. The wet weather however was good for the contestants, as it helped soften the ground of the hill, resulting in fewer injuries. As would be expected, most of the prizes went to the locals, but the other contestants didn't seem to care - it was just too much fun! Incase you are interested in going, the countdown for the next Cheese Rolling Competition has already begun. Check it out on http://www.cheese-rolling.co.uk/