“Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead.”
Result: 2016 Female World Gravy Wrestling Champion
Medal: Well, not exactly…
Much like the time I ran Loch Ness marathon pulling a husky-laden sled, this was one of those ideas that seems like a good, nay – GREAT idea when filling out entry forms a couple of months before, but which seems like the dumbest idea on the planet the actual day before. Having just cycled 200km, my legs were feeling remarkably fresh (though not entirely un-weary), and my last minute volunteer to drive me down to Lancashire and back was at my door, shaking his head and laughing as I frantically stuffed items of clothing and costume into a bag and kicked them out of the door towards our chariot.
Although I had originally made plans to go down with a friend, yet again I was unceremoniously abandoned, but as I’m not one to eschew commitment, I found myself talking bikes and cycle holidays with my companion on the road all the way to our AirBnB a few miles from the event. We had food on the road, so we went for a couple of good luck pints in the evening before hitting the sack.
With a rather leisurely start time of 1pm, we had time to drive around the town and grab breakfast and a coffee before heading to the venue: The Rose n Bowl pub in Stacksteads. They had opened early for the spectators, and instantly I scouted some of the other contenders – not difficult when fancy dress is mandatory. To settle my nerves (and enjoy the unseasonably warm sunshine), I grabbed a beer once I was in my get-up.
Soon, all competitors were being ushered into a marquee by the wrestling area for a briefing. Essentially we were told to entertain, and there was definitely an element of pre-planning moves with who we were facing. We would be in for 2 minute bouts, with the winner advancing to the next round.
My first opponent was a pirate. We huddled in the marquee watching all those who were up before us, until eventually, we were introduced to the crowd. I felt absolutely ridiculous, but equally I was having the most fun. I believe the commentator called us the two smiliest competitors, and though comedy was part of it, there was some serious manhandling as well:
After the judges had voted me through, we both headed for the firemen to get the gravy hosed off. We were assured the water would be warm, but it didn’t take long to realise this was a slight untruth. Despite the sunshine and warmth, I couldn’t appreciate it in my damp attire, and spent much of the afternoon shivering in the marquee awaiting my next fight. Eventually the time came for me to face my second pirate, again with a bit of playing about, and a bit of actual wrestling.
Before I knew it, I was in the final – my rival being a previous Gravy Wrestling World Champion! It was at this point the competitive part of me took hold, and despite my smiles, I was pretty serious when I was throwing her down in the gravy. The two minutes flew by, and then to a cheering crowd I was chosen as the victor!
Though not necessarily the outcome I was expecting, it also didn’t come as a complete surprise. My repertoire of wrestling is rather sparse, but my enthusiasm is never lacking.