In spite of the image it has gotten from sleazy dives, mud wrestling is a valid and honest sport. There are tournaments for both men and women. And yes, everyone keeps their clothes on.
The legendary Houston Wrestling promotor Paul Boesch is credited with the invention of mud wrestling, as he came up with the concept for the match when booking a feud between Gus Sonnenberg and Harnam Singh in Seattle, Washington. It first became popular in the United States in the 80's, and later spread worldwide. Although originally performed in bars, nightclubs, and strip clubs, mud wrestling is now mainstream to the point where organizations have staged mud wrestling events for fun and charity.
The event shown for this week's target is the "Moulin Mud" tournament, specifically, the one held on May 11, 2002 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina by mudwrestling.org.
While most participants take it as serious fun...
....some take it more seriously than others....
...and sometimes, it can get downright mean.
Mud wrestling is defined as physical confrontation (fighting, wrestling, etc.) that occurs in mud or a mud pit. The popular definition specifies that participants, usually women, wrestle while wearing minimal clothing and going barefoot, with the intention of presenting an entertaining spectacle. Venues for competition are usually social in nature with equal numbers of male and female spectators. Mud wrestling is typically performed in a semi-competitive fashion -- though presented as a competition between participants, winning and losing is not considered as important as having fun.
Just like regular wrestling, there are tag team matches.
At the end of the tournament, there is always one top winner - usually the the one who spent the least time under the mud.
And then, it's off to the showers.
Information on the serious side of the sport of mud wrestling is somewhat difficult to find on the internet - most of the sites tending toward the sleezier side. But the information is there, if you look for it.
For more photos of the Moulin Mud competition, take a look at the "Moulin Mud" page of photographer Chuck Neel's photography gallery.