Army Veteran Becomes First American to Win British Cheese-Rolling Contest

Melissa Knowles

A Colorado man who served in the United States Army has done something that is not for the faint of heart or those who might be out of shape. To make it even cooler, he traveled almost 5,000 miles to be the first American to ever win it.

Kenny Rackers is not your average 27-year-old. No, sir. He's an all-American athlete, and he has been training for an extremely intense event. What event? A cheese-rolling competition -- and not just any cheese-rolling competition.

Yes, Rackers competed in and won the historic Cooper's Hill Cheese Rolling and Wake near Gloucestershire, England. The 200-year-old annual event took place over the weekend. In case you're unfamiliar with the art of running after a wheel of cheese, let me explain the event.

A woman named Diane Smart makes the wheel of cheese -- she's been doing it every year for the past 25 years. Competitors climb to the top of a steep hill, as more than 2,000 spectators watch. The cheese master hurls the cheese down the hill, and the competitors race after it. Rolling, stumbling, falling, colliding -- it's quite dangerous. The first person to grab the cheese and cross the finish line wins the competition. That person earns fame and a place in the history books.

It is worth noting that the official cheese-rolling competition was canceled in 2009 when more than 15,000 spectators showed up, but the unofficial race has been ongoing. Police are on standby to keep the crowds under control.

Rackers trained vigorously in his hometown of Colorado Springs, Colo., and emerged victorious, although a little beat-up from his tumble down the hill. Rackers said after the race, "I came 3,000 or 4,000 miles just for this race. I put it on my bucket list, and today it was to win and that's what I did."

Not only was winning on Rackers' bucket list, but competing in the race was a part of his goal to inspire 1 million people in his 1 in a million campaign, challenging himself to inspire others.

Consider us all inspired Kenny. Well done!

[Related: U.S. Army vet triumphs in U.K. cheese-rolling contest]

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