For hundreds of years, the residents of Gloucestershire in southwest England have been gathering on Cooper’s Hill late in the spring. Someone hurls a round, seven pound Gloucester cheese down the steep hill. Then everyone races after it. Whoever reaches the bottom of the hill first (catching the cheese is near impossible) is crowned the winner.
The Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling has become so popular, and so injury-ridden, that public officials cancelled the official event in 2010 and 2011, spurring impromptu races. This year, the event was once again officially sanctioned. Two hours before the cheese was sent downhill (it can hit 70mph), a crowd of 2,000 people had already formed. Three races were held; two of them won by recurring champion Chris Anderson. The Diamond Jubilee Cheese Race, perhaps the strangest celebration of Queen Elizabeth II’s 60 years on the throne, was won by Craig Farley.
As silly as it sounds, the race is pretty intense, mainly due to the steepness of the hill, a nearly vertical drop. To get an idea of how injuries occur, check out the video below, the work of YouTube user Maxdreamcreator. No one stays upright for the full descent: Some roll most of the way, others more or less bounce. Everyone, it looks like, has a great time.