In the past nearly 20 years, the event has been held with some regularity almost every year, typically on the last Saturday in May and is presided over by a Master of Ceremonies. On any given year, several thousand people get together and watch roughly between 20-40 contestants chase an eight-pound wheel of cheese down a very steep, 295-foot hill in the English countryside.
The competition's races are short, intense and not for the faint of heart or the easily bruised. The organization of the race itself is as informal as it can possibly get. If you want to enter, you just show up and do it. There are no application fees or forms.
Traditionally, it's been held by and for the people of the local village Brockworth, about a mile away from Cooper's Hill, but it's grown a bit beyond that to attract international attendees and travelers in the past few years.
There are typically five downhill races in which four are for men, one for women, with one uphill component as well, but this can vary from year to year. It's a competition in which broken bones, bruising, and concussions do sometimes happen and ripped clothing, scratches, and other cuts come with the territory.
The terrain is a public ground, and it's rough and uneven. It's a likely outcome that some people will end up in the hospital, and it's partly why the festival has been subject to much notoriety.
In 2011, in an attempt to make the event safer for everyone involved, organizers announced they would make it a two-day affair with an entrance fee to cover the cost of managing the anticipated crowds with security and fencing. The event has continued unofficially since and is run by a handful of locals.
An international field of daredevils from all over the world increases competition number and levels for the Cooper's Hill Cheese Rolling event as word of this wacky event continues to gain worldwide attention.
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