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Members of the Mashed Potato Wrestling Federation, headquartered in Minneapolis, hold nothing back when it comes to brawling in a pit of mashed potatoes.

Wrestling moves sanctioned by the loosely (very loosely) organized federation include "The Pit-tato" (scooping mashed potato from an armpit and pushing it in an opponent's face); "The Peeler" (thrashing at an opponent's costume), and the "Carbo Load" (jumping from a hay bale onto your opponent).

The metro area will get its first taste of mashed-potato wrestling this Saturday when Brooklyn Park adds the event to its Tater Daze celebration.

Reigning world champion and Minneapolis multimedia artist/comedian Steve Barone will be attending, but not as his wrestling alter ego "Steve O'Gratin," who wears a saggy red wrestling singlet, white kneepads and a sport headband.

"I'm just concerned about bum-rushing the show because this is their first year doing it," Barone wrote in an e-mail.

While unheard of in Ireland or Idaho, mashed-potato wrestling actually has a long, illustrious history in the Upper Midwest.

People have been grappling in mashed potatoes in Clark, S.D., since 1972 for the town's Potato Day fest. Barnesville, in western Minnesota between Fergus Falls and Fargo, claims the largest mashed-potato pit, at 20 by 20 feet, for its own potato celebration.

"Barnesville is where it's at," writes Barone.

In recent years, the antics have gotten more and more elaborate, with Mashed Potato Wrestling Federation members showing up with choreographed moves for the three-round bouts. Each round lasts two minutes, with the winner being declared after a pin.

Last year, a Norwegian daredevil character named "Evel Knutsen" attempted to jump over the mashed-potato pit on his BMX bike and failed, to the great delight of all the kids in the audience.

The Brooklyn Park pit will be 12 by 15 feet, placed over a sand volleyball court. Organizers plan to buy about 100 Sam's Club-sized boxes of instant mashed-potato flakes.

"We're going to dump them into the pit, water them down with a garden hose, and then have people run through it to get it all mixed up," said Matt Norris, who is sponsoring the wrestling through his outreach organization, the A List.

Norris is working the phones to get the Brooklyn Park fire chief into the pit and media personalities from channels 4 and 5.

Brooklyn Park Mayor Steve Lampi issued a public challenge against a former Brooklyn Park mayor -- former wrestler and former Gov. Jesse Ventura -- to rassle him in the pit. Through his publicist, Ventura declined.

Though the small-city mayor could probably pull off a patriotic singlet with an American flag cape, Lampi says he's going to go subtle for his costume. "I don't think I'd want to try to out-flash Jesse," he said.

Alyssa Ford is a Minneapolis freelance writer.