Without this small army of volunteer peelers, Choctaw’s Oktoberfest wouldn’t have any potato salad

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CHOCTAW, Okla. - The delivery came last week.

A truckload of Idaho Number One Bakers backed up to the Old Germany Restaurant, and this small group of volunteers dove into the pile.

"I look forward to it every year," said veteran peeler Dominique Wilfong.

If you eat potato salad at the Oktoberfest celebration in Choctaw, these hands peeled them - 6,000 pounds of them.

"Do you still order potato salad after this?" said a visitor to the peeling room.

"Believe it or not, we still love potato salad," they said.

The consensus in the group is Joan Pickett is the fastest peeler.

She's also been at it the longest, 8 years running.

Her pay: a free lunch and air conditioned room.

"This was easier than working out at Oktoberfest itself," she said.

The peelers are all pretty good friends who kind of enjoy getting together at this time every year.

We caught Dominique Wilfong on her birthday.

Richard Martin spent time in the Army but never peeled a single potato while in service.

He appreciates the 'intel' he gets from usually being the only male peeler.

"Sometimes, the ladies forget I'm in here, so I've heard a lot of different discussions," Martin said.

Most of the time, Mike Turek is racing around the festival grounds at Choctaw Creek Park, making sure everything is flowing freely.

But, his peelers do hold a special place.

"Without them, we certainly couldn't do it," Turek said.

6,000 pounds becomes 5,000 by the time they peel away the skins and bad spots.

The peelers used to be slices too until the Tureks invested in a motorized one.

Please don't feel sorry for them, they said.

It's kind of fun doing something that doesn't require a lot of thought and ends up giving so many people the nice, warm feeling you get when your stomach is full and the evening is young.

The 2017 Choctaw Oktoberfest celebration runs from September 1st through September 9th.

For more information, go to www.oldgermany.com.

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