The World Gravy Wrestling Championships have been going for 14 years and is an event where contestants dress up and wrestle in a pool full of Lancashire gravy – about 2,500 litres! The event stopped for two years due to Covid but was back again this year. The contestants wrestle in two minute rounds and then the judging panel decides who won each round based on costumes, fun moves and entertainment value.
This event took place on the 29 August 2022 in Stacksteads, Rossendale and was organised by the Rose ‘N’ Bowl a pub where the event was held, The Real Lancashire Black Pudding Co Ltd who provide the gravy each year, and East Lancashire Hospice the primary charity which the event raises money for.
“It’s amazing to be back and have people come from far and wide. Basically, people come in fancy dress – men and ladies – and then they wrestle in gravy and get eliminated as the day goes on. It’s very messy.”Restaurant manager at the pub, Carol Lowe
A fun-filled charity event
All wrestlers were participating for a charity of their choice, they raise money by being sponsored to take part. East Lancashire Hospice get money from wrestlers choosing them as their chosen charity, entry fees, the tombola stall and as well as selling charity merchandise. After speaking to one of the volunteers attending, they said that in previous years the wrestling event has helped raise about £10,000 for the charity.
This event helped to raise lots of money for several local charities such as Lancashire Guinea Pig Rescue CIC, as well as some more well-known ones including the Samaritans and PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide.
I asked a wrestler what it was like being in the gravy and she said it feels “thick and warm”, and that she tried to stay in the middle as the outside bits of the pool were cold. The wrestlers were able to be hosed off by some local firefighters after each round.
I also asked if the gravy tasted nice and she said, “yes, it’s salty”, she then described how the gravy goes everywhere and also makes the clothing feel heavy. She also said about wanting to take part in the event since it creates a thrill and buzz in the lead up to the event, and she didn’t know why she kept coming back! She then said it’s because she must enjoy it. Another wrestler said she couldn’t hear properly as there was gravy in her ear.
I also spoke to one of the paramedics about the event and they said that in previous years “we’ve had broken bones and black eyes”, but thankfully this year they didn’t have any major injuries occur.
I really enjoyed going to this event and will hopefully be going next year as well. There’s plenty of entertaining rounds of wrestling, of male and female wrestlers and was a barrel of laughs. The presenter was fantastic and provided lots of comedic commentary.
All of the wrestlers were dressed up in amusing outfits and during the fighting, several clothing mishaps occurred, with wigs and clothes falling off – including one of the male wrestlers’ underpants!
There was even a power outage for a brief time where the pool started to deflate and the gravy nearly went everywhere! Luckily the team managed to get it inflated again in time.
Overall, the wrestling was really fun to watch and my favourite wrestlers of the day were Amy Waynehouse (a parody of Amy Winehouse) and a person dressed up in a dinosaur suit. You could also smell the gravy as they were wrestling, and it smelt absolutely amazing – the scent reminded me of my Mam’s homemade gravy.
I highly recommend this event and can’t wait for next year. It truly is a celebration of Lancashire madness!
Jamie Robinson is a professional photographer for Robinson Photography based in Lancashire. You can visit his website.
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