World Gravy Wrestling Championships – Where, When, What & How to Get Involved?

For a lot of British people, gravy is something a stock in trade in the kitchen, no pun intended. For the best cooks out there, they can make their own gravy when they cook a Sunday lunch, using the juices from a cooked chicken, say, to ensure that they’re proud of what they’re serving up. For everyone else, there are pre-made gravy granules to which you just need to add hot water. Regardless of how you make yours, you probably know how you like it and can’t get enough of it. The question is, how would you feel about wrestling in it? If that is a notion that excites you then we might just have the idea competition to tell you all about.

What Are the Gravy Wrestling Championships?

World Gravy Wrestling Championships logoThere are some made things that take place up and down the land, whether it be people throwing themselves down the side of a hill in order to chase after a piece of cheese or millions of people tuning in on a weekly basis so as to see how random strangers have got on when trying to bake cakes as instructed by some celebrity judges. With that in mind, we probably shouldn’t be all that judgmental about people who choose to spend their time wrestling with each other in gravy. Yes, it might well be considered to be one of the world’s weirdest sports, but that doesn’t mean that the people taking part in it don’t take it at least slightly seriously.

When the Championships took place in 2023, it was the 15th year that competitors had taken part in the wrestling competition that, quite literally, takes place in a massive pool of Lancashire gravy. Contestants regularly don fancy dress before climbing into the ring with one another, but it isn’t just a free-for-all; there is a referee in the gravy mixture with them to ensure fairness and declare a winner. There is a men’s and women’s category, whilst competitors come from around the world in order to take part. The international aspect of it is particularly weird when you consider the fact that gravy as a substance feels so quintessentially British.

Where Does It Take Place?

The Rose ‘N’ Bowl Pub in the East Lancashire town of Rossendale is the location for the Gravy Wrestling Championships. For the 2023 renewal, punters were charged £2.50 to go and watch it take place whilst kids were charged £1.50. It isn’t just a money making exercise for the pub, however, with all of the money going to the East Lancashire Hospice. There were 24 contestants in 2023, all heading to Lancashire from numerous different places around not only the United Kingdom but also the rest of the world. The wrestlers themselves are also entitled to raise money for their own charities if they wish to, showing what it’s really all about.

When Does It Happen?

Although the Championships have taken place for 15 years now, it would be untrue to suggest that they are set in stone in terms of when they happen. The very nature of them, with grown men and women entering a pool filled with gravy in order to wrestle against one another, means that the weather has to be relatively dry in order to ensure that the gravy isn’t too wet. Any self-respecting gravy eater knows that gravy that is too watery is deeply unpleasant to get into your mouth, let alone the various other orifices that are likely to be filled with the liquid merely on account of the fact that you’re wrestling in it.

It took place for the first time in 2007 and is regularly featured on lists of the world’s quirkiest sports. It was featured in the 2019 version of the Guinness Book of World Records, which perhaps helps to explain why as many as 24 people decided to take part in it in 2023. That was broken down into 16 men and eight women, so it is very much an equal opportunities sport. They faced off against each other for a two-minute wrestling match, all whilst being soaked in hundreds of litres of delicious brown gravy. Ravin Gravy, also known as Natan Kendall, was the men’s champion, whilst Patina Bury won for the women under her stage name of The Bacup Bavarian.

How to Get Involved?

World Gravy Wrestling
Caravanum, Flickr

If you’ve read about this and decided that wrestling in gravy is just your cup of Bovril then you will no doubt want to know how to get involved. You can apply to be part of the experience directly with the World Gravy Wrestling Championships, with the fact that you get points for the following worth bearing in mind:

  • Fancy Dress
  • Comedy Effect
  • Entertainment
  • Wrestling Ability

You can decide for yourself whether wrestling ability being so far down the list is a sign of how seriously you should take it. If you’re interested in watching the event rather than taking part in it, you will no doubt be delighted to learn that there are all sorts of other things that happen around the actual wrestling. It is something of a summer fete, with cheerleading groups, bouncy castles, craft beer stalls and BB shooting ranges present in the past, as well as face painting, cake stalls and a tombola. The kids can even have a go in the gravy themselves if they fancy, all before competitors get washed down by the fire brigade.

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