It's the amazing race, Minnesota-style

If crazy-costumed characters nearly bowl you over in downtown Minneapolis next Saturday, looking hell-bent on some sort of urban scavenger hunt, it's not Halloween come early. It's the Gorilla Challenge.

If a bunch of crazy-costumed characters nearly bowl you over in downtown Minneapolis next Saturday, looking hell-bent on some sort of urban scavenger hunt, it's not Halloween come early.

The Gorilla Challenge is a new competitive event in cities nationwide that combines elements of several types of reality-TV shows -- racing, trivia knowledge about your hometown, completing "difficult or gross activities" and, yes, strutting your stuff in outrageous get-ups.

Clues are localized to each city and state, and it's family-friendly (kids can play, too) with music and food provided to entrants after the approximately two-hour competition, which is being promoted via social media.

"It's the combination of physical ability and mental strategy that gets people going," Shariq Ghani said of his for-profit, Houston-based venture.

While Ghani wouldn't give away any of the clues, he did reveal this much: The Minneapolis race begins at 10 a.m. at the sports bar Smalley's 87 Club, near Target Center, and ends there, as well. Entries cost $40 per team member.

Teams can consist of as few as two people but he said four or five are ideal. Of the 12 clues stashed at various locales, some are "designed to trick you into, say, going in a wrong direction," he said. Other tasks are more civic-minded, like helping a food shelf.

Entries will be capped at 700, and the Minneapolis race has about 570 on deck so far, he said.

Prizes range from $300 for first place to $50 for best costumes. To sign up (and see sample clues), go to gorillachallenge.com.

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