Mashed Potato Wrestling - Gastro Obscura

Food Festivals

Mashed Potato Wrestling

These spud showdowns are highly-anticipated events at tuber-focused festivals in the United States.

Compared to Jell-O or spaghetti, mashed potatoes might not be one of the most popular foods to fill a wrestling ring. But these tasty tubers make for mash-filled fun at festivals in Minnesota, South Dakota, and Maine.

Most potato wrestling events take place in a pool constructed from hay bales and a tarp that gets filled with hundreds of pounds of potato flakes, factory scraps, and water. While specifics may vary according to what festival you attend, most contests follow the simple rule of whoever gets the most pins wins. At the annual Potato Days festival in Barnesville, Minnesota, for instance, contestants compete in two rounds lasting three minutes each, with the victor claiming the most three-second pins.

If you’re lucky, you might get to witness a defending champion face off against a rival. These competitors have been known to put on a show, dressing in costumes and riling up the crowds as they prepare for their spud showdown.  Steve “O’Gratin” Barone holds the world record for most potato wrestling championship wins, with four victories across events in Barnesville and Clark, South Dakota, from 2006 to 2008.

And when the competition has come to a close, local cattle usually get to dine on the leftovers, making this wonder waste-free.

Where to Try It