An All-American Hero Just Won The Gloucestershire Cheese-Rolling Race

One man flew 4,600 miles to beat the British at their own insanely dangerous game. This is his story.

1. Yesterday was the annual Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake.

Mike Warren / Via Flickr: brizzlebornandbred
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2. Not familiar with the tradition? Allow us to explain.

Will De Freitas / Via Flickr: ninjawil
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3. People climb up a hill.

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4. A pretty steep one.

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5. A wheel of cheese is procured.

This is Diane Smart. She’s made the race wheel of cheese every year for 25 years.

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6. It’s taken to the top of the hill by the Cheese Master.

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7. The wheel of cheese is thrown down the hill. AND THEN EVERYONE CHASES AFTER IT.

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8. It’s not for the faint of heart.

Hauggen / Via Flickr: hauggen
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9. It’s definitely dangerous.

Fun fact: this year the cheese was actually replaced with a foam/polystyrene disc, for safety reasons. AS IF THE CHEESE IS THE MOST DANGEROUS PART OF THE EVENT!

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10. But catch the cheese, and you’re the winner!

Reway2007 / Via Flickr: reway2007

In practice, this requires getting to the bottom of the hill first, without dying.

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11. The reigning champion is Chris Anderson.

This Maccabees music video is a tribute to his cheese chasing prowess.

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12. He’s won the cheese no fewer than six times.

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13. A local hero.

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14. Concussion doesn’t phase him.

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15. He’s just unbeatably fast.

He’ll be the green blur, then.

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16. But this year: NO CHRIS!

Chris is serving overseas with 1st Rifle Battalion. Come home safe, Chris! (So you can throw yourself down an incredibly dangerous hill.)

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17. The field was suddenly wide open.

Mike Warren / Via Flickr: mikewarren
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18. But, 4,644 miles away…

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19. In hilly (!) Colorado Springs…

wmharshana / Via Flickr: wmharshana
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20. One man was already training.

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21. Meet Kenny Rackers.

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22. Football player.

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23. Ski guy.

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(Also an estate agent.)

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25. For Kenny, this race was about so much more than cheese.

“I am training to be the first American to win the Cooper’s Hill Cheese and Rolling Wake. My goal is to win the race… AND INSPIRE ONE MILLION PEOPLE.”

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26. “This project is about encouraging others to pursue their dreams today.”

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27. “It’s about not letting yourself, others, or circumstances hold you back.”

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28. “I Am The American Cheese Racer.”

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29. “I am one in a million.”

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30. Could Kenny do it? Was he all hat, and no cattle? All mouth, and no trousers? All flag… and no cheese?

fest300, Instagram / Via

So much training. So many earnest emotions. Surely no match for our plucky, impromptu British spirit. Then again…

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31. Game Day.

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32. And the biggest race of his life was underway.

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33. Like Buzz Lightyear, he didn’t fly.

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34. But he fell with style.

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35. Watch his breathtaking performance in full:

There’s also a slightly less-dangerous but physically gruelling uphill race. Spoiler: Kenny wins that too!

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36. He staggers away…

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37. Claims his cheese…

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38. And declares VICTORY!

Nice one, Kenny. Nice one.

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39. This guy’s inspired:

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40. And this chap, too:

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41. These guys, definitely:

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42. This girl, kinda:

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43. And, er… does this count?

As well as the wheel of cheese, the winner also gets a free serving of British understatement.

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44. Well Kenny, we salute you. Come back next year…

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45. …there’s someone you’ve simply *got* to meet.

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