Cheese Rolling: Traditional Death Defying Race goes Ahead Despite Health and Safety Warnings

30 May 2013

Cheese Rolling 2013, Coopers Hill, Gloucestershire.
Thousands of people gathered last weekend at Cooper’s Hill in the English county of Gloucestershire for the annual cheese-rolling race.  The unofficial event, which has taken place at the same spot for over five hundred years, sees people risking life and limb in the pursuit of a rolling 7lb round of Double Gloucester cheese.

Cheese Rolling 2013, Coopers Hill, Gloucestershire.
However, this year the weighty cheese was replaced with a lighter foam version in a gesture towards making the event a little more health and safety conscious.  Just a little. The event is, as you can imagine, never without casualties.  However, cheese rolling has always been exuberantly amateur in nature and everyone who participates is well aware of the risks that they take. To grab and win the cheese is, it seems, worth the potential hazards of lunging headlong down a hill at breakneck speed.

Cheese Rolling 2013, Coopers Hill, Gloucestershire.
If the words they must be mad just escaped your lips then put it down to good old British eccentricity.  Yet the strange nature of the sport attracts nutters people from all over the globe.  In fact, out of the five races in 2013, one was won by a Japanese man, one by an Australian and a third by an American participant. However, two races were won by a local man and woman from the nearby village of Brockworth, much to the relief of the native audience.

Cheese Rolling 2013, Coopers Hill, Gloucestershire.
27 year old Kenny Rackers from Colorado Springs made the journey to Europe specifically to compete in the contest and came complete with specially made outfit which made little secret of his stateside origins.  That’s another tick on the bucket list for Kenny, then.

Cheese Rolling 2013, Coopers Hill, Gloucestershire.
We're not sure whether the panda was from China or not...

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Yet if Kenny had gone to lengths to display his country’s colors, the Japanese competitor chose a more subtle ninja outfit to exhibit his national pride. He nimbly caught the cheese (which wasn’t a cheese) without once having to resort to unsheathing his ninjato to fend off other competitors.

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Cheese Rolling 2013, Coopers Hill, Gloucestershire.
There are plans to continue this uniquely British event in forthcoming years, despite a certain heavy handedness by local police. They instructed the cheese-maker, 86 year old Diana Smart that she could be held responsible for any injuries inflicted by flying rounds of Double Gloucester.   The organizers, not wishing to see an octogenarian arrested for possible wounds caused by contact with the traditional unpasteurized treat, deferred to a foam substitute this year.

Cheese Rolling 2013, Coopers Hill, Gloucestershire.

Cheese Rolling 2013, Coopers Hill, Gloucestershire.
Kuriositas would like to thank Flickr photographer egneg for his kind permission to use his photographs for this article. Please visit his excellent Photostream.


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