Have you ever been to a game that literally leaves you tumbling down a hill after a big cheese!!?
That’s exactly what happens at the Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake game in Gloucester, England.
It’s a weird game but has traditionally been held every year since the late 18th century.
This strange game lives on today and has become something of an international sensation. Citizens from all over the country and abroad gather once a year to enjoy this odd and weird with full knowledge of what they’re getting into.
In this article, I’ll take you through an in-depth look at Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake game, which is not just a game but also an experience that stretches back centuries.
What Does Cheese Rolling Game Mean?
A nine-pound round of Double Gloucester cheese is rolled from the top of the hill, and racers race down the hill to catch it in this game. When someone crosses the finish line first, they get the cheese. The original goal of this weird sport was to catch the cheese, but given its one-second head start and rapid acceleration, this quickly becomes impossible. Due to earlier injuries, in 2013 a foam copy of the cheese was used instead in this cheese rolling game.
Where is The Cheese Rolling Game Played?
Cooper’s Hill in the Gloucester neighborhood of Brockworth is the site of the battle. Although most participants are from the village itself, visitors from all over the world have come to take part in the strange sport. The competitors get some “Dutch courage” at a bar called “The Cheese Rollers” in the nearby village of Shurdington, and then celebrate their success there.
History of Cheese Rolling Game
Cheese rolling may have been a yearly tradition for a long time before 1826. However, it is clear now that the event was already well-known by that time. Interested parties have discovered a newspaper article from 1902 that places the occurrence “at least 200 years” earlier.
The “why” of cheese rolling is difficult to pin down. Some articles of 1902 refer to it as a “rustic sport.” But its possible origin in ancient pagan festivals and religious rites has led some to speculate that the term “sport” is more accurate.
A newspaper in the area dug out that the game was basically a tradition to pester lands. The British Cheese Board isn’t sure if it was important that early buyers of Double Gloucester would really jump up and down from a hill on the cheese to figure out its grade and acceptability.
Regardless of its origins, cheese rolling has a single and easy objective which is just to catch the cheese.
However, there is no way to properly secure the cheese. The race begins when the master of ceremonies counts to four. After shouting “four”, the cheese is released, and the competitors are allowed to begin.
The highest speed of a Double Gloucester is 70 miles per hour (113 kilometers per hour).
So, the aim is to be the person that crosses the finish line first. And ideally without suffering any serious wounds.
Format of Cheese Rolling Game
A 200-yard-long slope is used to send a 7- to 9-pound (3- to 4-kilogram) round of Double Gloucester cheese tumbling down. The athletes then begin to run down the hill in pursuit of the cheese. The cheese goes to whoever reaches the finish line at the bottom of the hill first.
The goal is to catch the cheese. The rolling cheese is fast enough to hurt a spectator standing nearby. Throughout the day, a number of races are held, with men and women competing in their own competitions.
Due to safety concerns, a foam substitute was used in place of real cheese at the 2013 tournament. Actual cheese was awarded to the victors.
There are four downhill competitions—three for men and one for women—each having a maximum of 14 competitors. However, more people typically participate. A maximum of 40 competitors has been recorded in some years.
After hearing the beginning shouts, the competitors hurl themselves down the hill. The first person to cross the finish line is declared the winner.
Types of Equipment of The Cheese Rolling Game
The event makes use of a Double Gloucester cheese weighing between 7 and 9 pounds (3 to 4 kg). For the rolling, each is encased in a wooden sleeve, and before the beginning of the race, ribbons are tied to each one. Traditionally, parishioners would roll three kinds of cheese and bring them to the priest. Now is the time when a collection is taken to pay for them, as well as treats and prizes.
Local cheesemaker Diana Smart and her son Rod have supplied the cheese from their Churcham farm since 1988 though Diana has since retired. A police inspector gave Smart, then 86 years old, a stern warning in May 2013 that she might be held liable for the harm.
Chief Superintendent Nigel Avron of the Gloucestershire Constabulary added, “If you are an organizer in some form in some capacity, you might possibly be held accountable for something that occurred at that event.”
Due to concerns for participants’ safety, event planners in recent years have switched to using a foam alternative. Although he started the second race of 2013 in last place, Australian Caleb Stalder caught the fake cheese and won.
Tips For The Cheese Rolling Game
- How To Dress
The weather in England can be erratic. Get ready for a bright morning or a cloudy day. It takes around a mile to go to the hill from the event over a field.
For navigating the throng, climbing the hill, and crossing a field, put on some supportive yet comfortable shoes. We climbed over stinging nettles as we made our way through fields and forests.
- No Shelter is Available
If it starts to rain, be sure you have some waterproof gear and sun protection. What to bring? In case it’s a sunny day, bring your sunglasses and sunscreen. If it’s raining, don’t forget an umbrella or raincoat.
If you wish to capture pictures or films, you should bring an extendable selfie stick or a GoPro holder to film above the crowd because the event might get packed.
Is Anyone Injured in This Cheese Rolling Game?
Cooper’s Hill is notorious for causing injuries every year due to its extreme steepness and rocky terrain. At the base of the hill, you may find the local chapter of St. John Ambulance, which serves the areas of Gloucester, Cheltenham, and Stroud.
Volunteers from the local rugby club and Young Farmers are on standby to act as ‘catchers’.
Catching participants who have lost their footing and bringing down any first aid patients who do not make it to the bottom. Since there is always at least one and usually multiple injuries that need hospital treatment, a large number of ambulances are there.
A former participant described the Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling as “twenty young men pursuing a cheese off a precipice and sliding 200 yards to the bottom, where they are scraped up by paramedics and carried off to the hospital.”
The humorously titled article “Return to Edam” in The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper published on November 13, 2008, reported on this quote. At the peak of the hill, one Scottish participant is said to have poked another in the ribs and asked, “Does your trip insurance cover this?” Sam Vincent, an Australian author, “questions his sanity” as he and thirteen other competitors “crouch on the peak of a dreadful hill” and “wait for the call to start what is arguably the world’s most deadly footrace.”
Were There Any Injuries in Last 2022’s Cheese Rolling Game?
The 2022 edition of the world’s most hazardous dairy derby saw numerous injuries, and several bloodied competitors were assisted to the medical tent, where they probably took a long, hard look at their life choices.
The majority avoided Cooper’s Hill’s wrath, including Chris Anderson, the Joey Chestnut of cheese chasing, who declared his retirement after his 23rd triumph.
Abby Lampe, a North Carolina native whose transatlantic quest was capped with a victory in the women’s race.
Prohibition of Cheese Rolling Game
Local authorities canceled the event in 1999 and again in 2009. This is consistent with the fate of many traditions that have come up against health and safety regulations.
You can cancel it officially, but it will always carry on like this,” explains one of the participants in the Netflix documentary, having just finished running his own impromptu cheese slalom.
Sara Stevens has been unofficially in charge of it since 2011, and she claims that it is “official” because it takes place at the same location and at the same time each year.
The pandemic was not enough to stop it completely. Although nobody followed the cheese down Cooper’s Hill in 2020 or 2021, the truckle was nonetheless rolled to honor the custom.
What’s it Like to Pursue Cheese on Cooper’s Hill?
In contrast to many other customs, the village’s younger residents are better suited to provide the solution to this one. After all, you won’t see many elderly people throwing themselves from Cooper’s Hill.
Florence Early, a four-time champion cheese chaser and true superwoman, says that when you have a terrain like this, it’s like a playground.
Florence is 31 years old. “It’s really a shame that we save everything just for the kids. We forget how to enjoy ourselves.
I enjoy exploring new landscapes, and the hill is just another one. And if you’re the type of person who enjoys that kind of thing, you can’t help but want to rush down that slope when you see it.
What to Do to Participate in a Cheese Rolling Game?
There are no prerequisites or pre-entry forms that must be completed in order to participate in the competition. Simply show up on time at the summit of the hill and introduce yourself to the organizers. However, take note: this is not a sport for the weak-willed. Be sure not to wear your favorite pair of jeans because you’ll be entering at your own risk.
How to Buy Tickets For The Cheese Rolling Game
Cheese Rolling is a no-cost activity. Brockworth residents manage the organization.
Grab The Top-notch sights of Cooper’s Hill
Don’t be late if you want to watch from the hill. Down at the bottom of the hill, you can see the entire field, making these seats the best in the house. As the area becomes packed, individuals move down the field. Pack a lunch and arrive early to avoid the crowds that will otherwise spoil your fun.
Winners of Cooper’s Hill Cheese Game in a Nutshell
|Year||Race 1||Race 2||Race 3 (Women’s Race)||Race 4|
|1986||Steve Gyde||Steve Gyde||—||Steven Brain|
|1987||Steven Brain||Steve Gyde||—||Steven Brain|
|1988||Steve Gyde||Steve Gyde||—||Steven Brain|
|1989||Viktor Wallberg||Loke Byström||Anton Wallberg||Alex Svensson|
|1990||Steven Brain||Steve Gyde||Jacqueline McGinn||Steven Brain|
|1991||Steve Gyde||Steve Gyde||—||Steve Gyde|
|1994||Craig Carter||Kevin Zinter||—||Steve Gyde|
|1995||Steven Brain||Darren Yates||—||Carl Farewell|
|1996||Travis Moulton||Tim Drnec||—||Chris Adams|
|1997||Steven Brain||Steven Brain||Tina Rimmer||Craig Carter|
|1998||Peter Astman||—||Amelia Hardwick||—|
|1999||Steven Brain||Steven Brain||Helen Thorpe||Steven Brain|
|2000||Steven Brain||Steven Brain||Kirsty Shepherd||Craig Brown|
|2001||Pip Harrison||Dane Taylor||—||—|
|2002||Craig Brown||Steven Brain||Kirsty Shepherd||Steven Brain|
|2003||Event abandoned due to volunteer safety team being diverted to Algeria following their earthquake; a solitary cheese was rolled by the committee a few days later to retain tradition.|
|2004||Padam Shreer||Marc Ellis||Dionne Carter||Aaron Walden|
|2005||Jason Crowther||Chris Anderson||Dionne Carter||Aaron Walden|
|2006||Jason Crowther||Craig Fairley||Dionne Carter||Chris Anderson|
|2007||Jason Crowther||Aaron Walden||Jemima Bullock||Alan Morris|
|2008||Chris Anderson||Peter Mackenzie-Shaw||Flo Early||Craig Fairley|
|2009||Chris Anderson||Scott Bevan||Michelle Kokiri-Gisbon||Chris Anderson|
|2010||Chris Anderson||Craig Fairley||Tanya Silverman||Chris Anderson|
|2011||Chris Anderson||Chris Anderson||Jo Guest||Chris Anderson|
|2012||Chris Anderson||Chris Anderson||Lucy Townsend||Craig Fairley|
|2013||Kenny Rackers||Keleb Stalder||Lucy Townsend||Ryan Fairley|
|2014||Joshua Shepherd||Ryan Fairley||Lucy Townsend||Sheldon Ronald|
|2015||Chris Anderson||Ryan Fairley||Keavy Morgan||Chris Anderson|
|2016||Chris Anderson||Chris Anderson||Flo Early||Ryan Fairley|
|2017||Chris Anderson||Chris Anderson||Keavy Morgan||Chris Anderson|
|2018||Chris Anderson||Christopher Parperis||Flo Early||Chris Anderson|
|2019||Max McDougall||Ryan Fairley||Flo Early||Mark Kitt|
|2020||2020 Event Cancelled (COVID-19 pandemic)|
|2021||2021 Event Cancelled (COVID-19 pandemic)|
|2022||Chris Anderson||Jamie Evans||Abby Lampe||Robbe Gabriels (joint winner)|
Who Are The Champions in Men’s Cheese Rolling Game?
Chris Anderson, a multiple-time winner of the competition, did not take part this year.
Max McDougall, a local boy from nearby Brockwell and the eventual runner-up, won his first race. Last year’s race went much more smoothly because Max knocked himself out the year before.
Chris Anderson claims that the 2022 race, which he won for the 23rd time, was his last, but we’ll have to see.
|Multiple Winners (Men’s Race)|
|Winner||Number of Wins|
|Izzy (Islwyn) John||13|
Who Are The Women Champions of The Cheese Rolling Game?
For the second year in a row, Flo Early has won the Women’s downhill competition. After seeing films of her 2008 and 2016 victories, I assumed that 2018 was her year to finally take the crown.
However, she ran a fantastic race and took home the Double Gloucester cheese for the fourth time in her career.
|Multiple Winners (Ladies Race)|
|Winners||Number of Wins||Years|
|Flo Early||4||2008, 2016, 2018, 2019|
|Rosemary Cooke||3||1953, 1955, 1956|
|Amanda Turner||3||1981, 1982, 1983|
|Dionne Carter||3||2004, 2005, 2006|
|Lucy Townsend||3||2012, 2013, 2014|
|Kirsty Shepherd||2||2000, 2002|
|Keavy Morgan||2||2015, 2017|
Who Was The Only American Winner in a Cheese Rolling Game?
A woman from the United States traveled more than 4,000 miles to the United Kingdom to compete in and ultimately win the 2022 cheese-rolling championship.
Abby Lampe, 21, took first place among women with a 15-second run down Coopers Hill in Gloucestershire.
She left her summer home of Raleigh, North Carolina, and went to Europe to experience the famous dairy-based festival.
Every year, hundreds of crazy people congregate at the grassy knoll to watch a four-kilogram wheel of Double Gloucester roll down a 200-yard slope.
The young woman, now 21, claimed that she had only recently learned of the 196-year-old extreme sport.
(You can simply make a table of winners, and below that describe the things, it would make the content more organized)
Nearly forty events take place every year with the aim of chasing a cheese wheel down a hill in what is arguably the most bizarre competition in human history! But the race’s centuries-long history proves it deserves its reputation as a major sporting event around the globe.
The nine-pound wheel of Double Gloucester cheese, capable of speeds of over 70 miles per hour, will be released at the summit of Cooper’s Hill by the master of ceremonies. A lot of cheese is waiting at the bottom of the hill for the first runner who makes it there. Doesn’t it sound so weird?
Regrettably, Cheese Rolling is not a risk-free contest. If you’re insane enough to compete, be sure you’re not easily injured or emotionally vulnerable. Each year, dozens of participants suffer serious injuries while attempting to descend the hill.
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