Two hundred people annually meet at the top of Copper’s Hill, in England, to chase a cheese wheel down the hill. The real name for this sporting competition is Cheese-Rolling and Wake. There are roughly five races each year, depending on how many cheese wheels are available if it’s in a time of emergency.
The hill is almost directly vertical which adds the risk of participants falling from their feet. It’s rare for anyone surrounding the event. Even watching the race is dangerous in itself because of the steepness. Many injuries are minor, but concussions are a norm during the event.
The origin of the race is unknown, but some families have documentation of their ancestors participating as far back as the mid-1700’s, and some believe that the tradition came from when Roman’s invaded in 54BC. The race has not always been done with 7-to-9-pound wheels of cheese. Alternatives to the cheese wheels are different types of pastries, such as cake or buns, to help bring either self-fertility or the fertility of the harvest.
Why people participate in the event besides the enjoyment is unknown unless a large percentage of people crave the taste of the flaky, closed texture cheese. The only other reason that people want to participate in this event would be for the sheer novelty of the event, and being able to say they have participated. Videos of the event have spiked interest across the internet to the unusual sport and raised tourism for the event and surrounding area.
This is the reason I would like to bring it to Canada, but instead of using an unpopular or unknown cheese type as double Gloucester, I suggest using the popular cheeses of mozzarella, or for a more Canadian twist, a giant cheese curd. Imagine this: a giant curd of cheese rolling down a hill with a crowd racing after it, each one apologizing as they stumbled or tumbled into another.
Elizabeth Ayana Hall
Elizabeth is a second year professional writing student who lives on anime, books, and cheese.
She does not actually spend time outside, it is a green wall behind her.