The 638th, 1999 Kirkpinar World Championships were held for 3 days from July 9th to July 11th under the hellishly hot sun, humidity of 95%, and 40 degree centigrade temperatures (104 fahrenheit).
  The audience can watch the games out of the burning sun under a respectable stadium.  Wrestlers, judges, and photographers are not so lucky.  I think they lost 5% of their weight by sweating.
  The sturdy Turk wrestlers also look uncomfortable from the heat.  They tried to go into the shade to wrestle.  Judges often insisted, "They must return to the center.".   But when they fought for a while in the sun, they still worked their way into the shade somehow.  It was enjoyable to see.

  Every time a judge brought them to the center again, the audience Boooooed.

  I thought that audience was saying, "Make them fight in the shade because it is hot!".  But that was not correct.
  The audience was shouting, "Don't disturb them when we can watch them nearer to us!".
  Coke isn't sold in the stadium.  There is a water machine with a faucet that a bucket was stuck under.  But, it is always empty.  Buying water outside the stadium is strongly suggested before watching.
  The person in charge of the Turkish game committee said "Because it is so hot, next year it will not be in July, the tournament of the next year will be held in June.".
Kirkpinar World Championships in 1999 were held for 3 days from the 9th of July.

Kirkpinar World Championships in 2000 were held for 3 days from the 30th of June.

 3 days from 29/June/2001,
 3 days from 28/June/2002,
 3 days from 27/June/2003.

  It seems that Turkish oil wrestling began in the first place as entertainment for the Turkish soldiers during a battle in Ottoman Turkish Empire 650 years ago.  Edirne is located at the side of a river which passes through deep woods.  In a suburb 2Km from Edirne, where the river splits into 2, is where Kirkpinar is held.  It is a beautiful place where many springs gush out.  You can imagine that it became a resting place for soldiers tired from battles.
  Kirkpinar actually means 'fourty (kirk) springs (pinar)'.
  There is a nuance of "anyway very much" in the number 40 in Turkey.  There is a saying that, "One cup of coffee becomes a recollection in 40 years.".  In Turkish tradition, '40 years' here are thought of as 'a lifetime'.
  The story has strayed a bit.

  Soldiers began to wrestle in this place to kill time.  They wrestled from sunrise to sunset.
  It is said that there were a couple of soldiers that wrestled all night, and the game wasn't settled.  Eventually they died from exhaustion.
  There is a legend that the springs which gushed out from their burial area is the origin of the name of Kirkpinar.

  Since the first champion appeared, the tournament has been held every year.
  This tournament is the 638th.  The reason why it is fewer than 650, is that in the end of the 19th century, enemy troops approached this place from the Balkan Wars.  Therefore, there was a period when a tournament couldn't be held.

The legend of Kirkpinar

  About 1350 A.D. The 1st prince Suleyman of the Ottoman Empire, who held command of the military activities, constructed a camp with 40 of his soldiers.  At that time, the situation was peaceful.
  Therefore the soldiers of Suleyman, who were bored, began wrestling on the plain to kill time.  Gradually, matches were won, until at last, only two soldiers who won were left, and kept fighting into the evening.  Other soldiers were enjoying the final match of last 2 for a while.  Eventually, they went to bed in twos and threes as the night wore on, and the two soldiers who were left continued to fight.

  The next morning, some soldiers began to get up at sunrise to ascertain the game result of the previous night.  And there, they saw a sight which was hard to believe.
  The two soldiers who had kept fighting till late at night, were still standing, tightly grappled, but had breathed their last.
  The soldiers who grieved over their comrades deaths, buried the courageous soldiers at the foot of fig tree and offered a prayer.
  In the next year, it is said a lot of beautiful springs welled up around the tombs of two soldiers in the grasslands.  Afterwards, it was decided the place would be called "40 springs - Kirkpinar".
  This legend is part of the history of prince Suleyman who never held the throne.  In 1358 A.D., Suleyman fell off of his horse, broke his neck, and died.  Next year, the second prince, Murat, became emperor.
Fights in oil spray

  The wrestlers' costume is just heavy leather trousers.  They are made of water buffalo leather with 58 meters of hand stitching.  The weight becomes 13Kg for the advanced wrestler.
  So much olive oil is poured onto the wrestlers that it drips from the whole body.  It isn't painted on. It is poured.

  Why is olive oil used?  Even if a local person is asked, they cannot say exactly why.
  One thing is clear.
  Because of the oil, physical strength becomes less critically important.  Differences in technique are also less important.  The intention is to make it a purely mental sport.
  It is said that the ancient Roman Empire fell from the spread of malaria by mosquito.
  Olive oil is a defense from the mosquito, and it was much more effective than the mosquito-net or smoke.
  So it was not out of the ordinary to wrestle oiled as well, because oil was being painted on peoples bodies every day anyway.
  Thus, the rule to use oil today is simply a natural form of the wrestling game.
Dance on the grasslands

  Before game begins, the wrestler with his opponent do something akin to a dance.
  With two wrestlers standing up straight, they move in opposing directions from each other respectively, and then alternately raise their hands high overhead.  Suddenly they crouch down and touch the grass momentarily, then turn around slowly, and approach each other again.
  The moment they pass each other, they brush each others body lightly, and continue.  The part which brushes every time they pass each other changes from the shoulder, to the stomach, the hips, the heel, etc, and evoke provocative poses from them.
  After this has been repeated several times, finally, they don't pass each other.  Then they grapple intensely,  and the game has started.

  The rule regarding victory is simple.  Pressing the back of an opponent against the ground, or lifting his whole body sky high, are conditions for victory.
  In championships, which are not won simply, they must grapple 40 minutes in hellishly hot sun.
  If there is no winner after this time, fifteen minutes are added.  If there is still no difference, again, 15 minutes are added.
  The game continues eternally until one crawls away on the grass, or prays for forgiveness because he cannot go on.
  As for the golden belt awarded to the winner it is 1,450g - 14 karat Gold, worth 25,000 dollars.
  Another prize is 100,000 dollars from the various sponsors.
  And, "Actually more generous, no?", a local fan says.
August 1999