New World Cheese Roll Championship attracts competitors from far and wide
The winner of the men's cheese roll at the eighth annual Maine Celtic Celebration in Belfast Sunday, July 20, was Stephen Atkinson, of Australia, who was part of an international team with three other members from England and Scotland.
The friends are staff at Camp Caribou in Winslow who return each year because of the relationship they've developed with the area and the local communities. They said they learned about the festival from a banner at You Know Whose, a pub in Waterville, and promptly asked for the day off so they could come down to check out the event and participate in the cheese roll competition.
"I was impressed with the spirit of the people of Maine on display here today — their enthusiasm for this event is a lot to fathom, really — and that drove my passion for the sport," said Atkinson.
The New World Cheese Rolling Competition is modeled after the annual cheese rolling competition at Cooper's Hill in Gloucester, England, which also draws an international crowd. Competitors run, roll and tumble down a hill after a wheel of cheese and try to be the first to catch it. This year an Australian came in second in the Cooper's Hill event, which took place May 26.
Another winner in Sunday's event was from North Carolina. Camille Appleby, winner in the girls' 13-18 category, was visiting Belfast with her family and while she was here she was able to defend the title of a relative, Billy Horowitz, of Chicago, who won in his category last year.
Winners got to keep the cheese they captured. Each of the three-pound wheels of cheddar — donated by State of Maine Cheese Company in Rockport — was surrounded by an impermeable rind to protect the prize.
Other winners included Carrie Turcott in the girls' 9-12 category, Caitlin Phair in the women's 19-24 category, Jessie Meisner in the women's 25 + category, Cole Castro in the boys' 5-8 category, and Jonah Lovejoy in the boys' 9-12 category. If you won in your category and are not listed here, contact firstname.lastname@example.org to be added.
Correction: The original article did not properly credit the photographer who took the Highland Heavy Games photos. The photographer is Betsy Headley.