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The staff at Auto Value have won all of the Winter Frolic smoosh and outhouse races. Manager Al Peterson says they don't practice much, just go "slow and steady." Team members showing off the hardware and smoosh boards are Peterson, Cody Havlick, and Ben Sines. Greg Rider will be the fourth smoosher. Race time is 1 p.m. Saturday. Mike Creger

Can these guys be beat this weekend?

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Can these guys be beat this weekend?
Two Harbors Minnesota 109 Waterfront Dr. 55616

They could talk, but they couldn't smoosh or push an outhouse.

Al Peterson isn't bragging, he's just stating the facts. "I'm not much of a trash talker," he said last week. "Just bring it."

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He'll be there Saturday, along with three other Auto Value team members as the three-time defending champions in the smoosh and outhouse races during the Two Harbors Winter Frolic.

Their prowess on the snow has created a target on their back each year as the Frolic builds. "It's not just that they want to beat you," Peterson said of the growing exasperation at the Auto Value streak. "They want to humiliate you."

The team sweated out its closest competition last year, one in which Peterson wanted to "puke his guts out" pushing so hard in the outhouse race.

How do they keep winning? It's a matter of the old tortoise and the hare, he said. In the smoosh, basically a coordination drill between four people with their shoes nailed to two-by-fours, you have to go "slow and steady," Peterson said.

Teams that have given them a run for their money always end up falling when reaching a bit too far, he said.

In the outhouse competition, it's "keep it light or after 50 yards you'll be puking."

Dick Bohrer would agree. He's the outhouse race organizer, creating the oddball toilet paper dispenser trophy and the flyers for the event from his Silver Creek Signworks business.

"I might just make one with plastic wrap only," he said with a laugh this week. He's taking entries until Friday afternoon and already has a dozen or so. That's more than double the entrants last year and a good sign of a growing tradition.

Bohrer would like to see the event bloom like others across the country with hundreds of racers.

And he thinks somebody can take Auto Value. "You need some young guns," he said, and then relayed the rumors of a high school team and some who are seeking an advantage through lightweight materials. "They're using foam," he said.

Lake Bank is running the smoosh race. There are enough entrants now for a couple of heats for Auto Value. Aside from that chase, there will be a special five-person smoosh featuring county board members versus the city council. The winner gets bragging rights, the loser has to cough up $100 to charity.

There will also be exhibitions and races for children all afternoon.

The big ticket, though, will be the attempt at a four-peat for Auto Value. The outhouse racing begins at 3:30.

More important to Peterson is getting involved in the community. The notoriety of the team is just extra sauce. "We've gotten a lot of attention," he said of the talk around town and even from down south. There was the auto parts store owner in Missouri who called him up and said some TV news coverage of the race had reached a station there. "It just kind of spiraled," Peterson said of the team keeping on and the event picking up some attention in the community. "It's a fun tradition."

"It's good humor," Peterson said. "We have fun with it. It's better than being tucked away in the house."

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