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2013 Cooper's Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake

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Yesterday, on a farm near Gloucester, England, thousands gathered for the annual Cooper's Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake, continuing a tradition that dates back at least 200 years, despite recent warnings from police. In the event, groups of fearless racers risk life and limb chasing an 8 pound (3.5 kg) round of Double Gloucester Cheese down an extremely steep and uneven hill, with a 1:1 gradient in some sections. The last officially organized race was in 2009, since then, it has continued unofficially every year, despite the potential for serious injury. Earlier, local police warned cheese-maker Diana Smart, who has supplied cheese to the race for 25 years, that she may be construed as a race organizer, and therefore legally liable. The BBC reports that this year organizers replaced the cheese with a lightweight foam version, in order to make the race safer. The winner of the race takes home the cheese. [24 photos]

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Contestants in the men's race chase a Double Gloucester Cheese down the steep gradient of Cooper's Hill during the annual tradition of cheese-rolling on May 27, 2013 in Brockworth, Gloucestershire, England. Although no longer a officially organized event since 2009, thousands of spectators still gathered to watch contestants from around the world tumbling down the 200m slope, which has a 1:1 gradient in parts, in a series of races that are said to date back hundreds of years, with the winner of each receiving a cheese. Injuries such as broken arms and legs are commonplace. (Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
Contestants in the men's race chase a Double Gloucester Cheese down the steep gradient of Cooper's Hill during the annual tradition of cheese-rolling on May 27, 2013 in Brockworth, Gloucestershire, England. Although no longer a officially organized event since 2009, thousands of spectators still gathered to watch contestants from around the world tumbling down the 200m slope, which has a 1:1 gradient in parts, in a series of races that are said to date back hundreds of years, with the winner of each receiving a cheese. Injuries such as broken arms and legs are commonplace. (Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
People sit at the top of the steep gradient of Cooper's Hill as they wait for the cheese-rolling to start on May 27, 2013 in Brockworth, England. (Matt Cardy/Getty Images) #
A sign warns people at the top of the steep gradient of Cooper's Hill of dangers of the annual tradition on May 27, 2013. (Matt Cardy/Getty Images) #
People wear handmade t-shirts as they wait for the cheese-rolling to start on May 27, 2013 in Brockworth, England. (Matt Cardy/Getty Images) #
People sit and watch as contestants in the uphill race climb the steep gradient of Cooper's Hill on May 27, 2013. (Matt Cardy/Getty Images) #
Competitors begin their run down Cooper's Hill in pursuit of a fake foam round Double Gloucester cheese in western England, on May 27, 2013. (Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images) #
Racers run down Cooper's Hill during the annual cheese rolling and wake, on May 27, 2013. (Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images) #
A competitor tumbles down Cooper's Hill on May 27, 2013. (Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images) #
People prepare to catch a competitor dressed as a tooth on Cooper's Hill, on May 27, 2013. (Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images) #
Contestants in the men's race chase a cheese down the steep gradient of Cooper's Hill, on May 27, 2013. (Matt Cardy/Getty Images) #
Competitors run down Cooper's Hill on May 27, 2013. (Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images) #
Competitors run and tumble down Cooper's Hill during the annual cheese rolling and wake in western England, on May 27, 2013. (Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images) #
A competitor tumbles down Cooper's Hill on May 27, 2013. (Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images) #
Contestants in the men's race chase a replica double Gloucester cheese down Cooper's Hill, on May 27, 2013. (Matt Cardy/Getty Images) #
Contestants in the women's race chase a Double Gloucester Cheese down Cooper's Hill on May 27, 2013. (Matt Cardy/Getty Images) #
A woman falls down the steep gradient of Cooper's Hill during the annual cheese-rolling, on May 27, 2013 in Brockworth, England. (Matt Cardy/Getty Images) #
Contestants in the men's race chase a replica double Gloucester cheese down Cooper's Hill, on May 27, 2013. (Matt Cardy/Getty Images) #
Racers tumble down Cooper's Hill in pursuit of a Double Gloucester cheese, on May 27, 2013. (Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images) #
Competitors run down Cooper's Hill on May 27, 2013. (Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images) #
Contestants in the men's race chase a Double Gloucester Cheese down Cooper's Hill, on May 27, 2013. (Matt Cardy/Getty Images) #
Competitors start a race down Cooper's Hill on May 27, 2013. (Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images) #
Competitors run and tumble down Cooper's Hill in pursuit of a Double Gloucester cheese, on May 27, 2013. (Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images) #
A man falls down the steep gradient of Cooper's Hill while racing, on May 27, 2013. (Matt Cardy/Getty Images) #
Kenny Rackers, an Army veteran from Colorado Springs, Colorado, celebrates winning the first race at Cooper's Hill during the annual Cooper's Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake, on May 27, 2013 in Brockworth, England. Rackers traveled to Brockworth from the U.S. just to compete in this year's race. (Matt Cardy/Getty Images) #

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