Cheese Rollers Go At It Again!


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Photo Credit: CRW_2946_RJ by Mike Warren Creative Commons Attribution

It's dangerous, it's crazy and this year it was even illegal - But that did not stop cheese rolling enthusiasts from running or rather tumbling down the 200-yard incline of Cooper's Hill in Gloucestershire, in pursuit of a 7lbs wheel of Double Gloucester cheese.

Why would sensible adults chase after a hunk of cheese and risk injury? Because it's a tradition that goes back centuries and because it's fun! Welcome to the wacky cheese-rolling contest held every Memorial Day weekend in Gloucestershire, England.

The rules of the race that date back to the 1800's are quite simple. Men and women chase after a cheese wheel that is rolling down the steep hill. The person who catches it first wins the race and the cheese! The hill is so steep that 'catchers' have to stand at the bottom to stop competitors from rolling out of control.

However, the race has become increasingly popular and last year organizers had to contend with not only five races, each with about 20 competitors, but also, an audience of about 10,000.

More people resulted in more injuries - 65 people, including 35 competitors, 11 catchers, and 19 spectators had to be treated or sent to the hospital with injuries ranging from minor bruises to dislocated shoulders. One poor spectator was injured after falling off a tree he had climbed, to get a better view. Believing that things could only get worse, the organizers decide to cancel the event this year.

However despite the fact that there were no medics or official catchers present, cheese rolling enthusiasts showed up to compete last weekend. The competitors ranged six-time cheese rolling champion, Chris Anderson to Greg Mills, a novice, who flew in all the way from California.

With veteran competitor Chris also acting as an organizer, things went like clockwork. With the help of some brave volunteer 'catchers', contestants tumbled down, and while there were the usual scrapes and bruises, there were no serious injuries. Everyone went home safe and happy, declaring this 'unofficial' contest a huge success!

Since this year's event was not 'legal', there is no video available, but just to get an idea of how crazy (and fun) this event is, here is the one from 2009.

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