Loudy-Simpson to be site of dirty little pleasures

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Four years ago, Mikki O'Brien, general manager of the Holiday Inn and then president of the Chamber of Commerce, started a fundraiser kind of a dirty way to raise money. It was the Mud Splash mud volleyball tournament, which will be held again this year at 10 a.m. Saturday at Loudy-Simpson Park.

Also around four years ago, the 4x4-Play Off-Roading Club started its own mud festival at Loudy-Simpson, the Mud Runs, which will be run in conjunction with the Mud Splash Saturday.

"Really, both mud events have nothing more in common than, well, just the mud," O'Brien said.

The Mud Splash volleyball tournament is a fundraiser for the Chamber of Commerce. The money raised goes toward keeping the Chamber open and expanding operations.

The Mud Splash, in its past three years, has gone on a roller-coaster ride as far as how much money it has raised. It turned a profit its first two years, but hit the skids last year.

"This year is already shaping up better than last year," said Mud Splash organizer Charlene Holmberg. "It just seemed like last year the tournament was run when there was too much going on around town and our numbers were down."

This year, with little to draw people away from a day of wallowing in the mud, the volleyball tournament should have around 10 teams entered. This will also include defending champions the Crawdads, a team that was started by O'Brien's husband, Mike.

"There's quite a few teams out there gunning for the Crawdads, and I have it on good authority that the Darkhorse Liquor team is looking to dethrone them," Holmberg said.

The Mud Run is not a fundraiser, it is just an excuse an excuse to go play in the mud.

The Run was started four years ago when some people were considering removing the mud pits at the west end of Loudy-Simpson.

"The Toolie Creepers had originally built the pits, and since they disbanded, they weren't being used too much," Mud Run organizer Lonnie Streeter said. "So, the 4x4-Play Club felt that they should be saved, and we started the Mud Runs."

The Mud Runs are basically a drag race down the 200-foot mud pits, and have a class to incorporate almost any vehicle.

There will be five different classes racing: ATV's, snowmobiles, four- and six-cylinder vehicles, V8 street legal (stock vehicles with no modifications) and modifieds (which usually aren't street-legal vehicles).

Besides the Mud Run, the 4x4-Play Off-Road Club will also sponsor a candy dash and cash dash through the mud pits.

"All the dashes are, are foot races through the mud pits," Streeter said. "At the end, there will be candy for the kids and $50 for the adults."

Winners of each class of the Mud Runs will take home a two-foot trophy, and a cash payback yet to be determined.

There should be around 30 to 40 competitors in the Mud Run, and around 100 spectators enjoying the mud races, Streeter said.

"It's fun to get out there and try to make it or break it in front of a crowd," said Eric Cozier, who will drive a 87 Suzuki Samari with a Pontiac 381 turbo V8 in the modified class. "The only thing I know for sure about the Run is somebody is getting muddy."

The cost for the Mud Splash is $150 per team. For more information on the Splash, or to register, call 824-3320 or 824-5689.

The cost of the Mud Run is $30 for pre-registration and $35 the day of. For more information on the Run or to register, call 824-7333.

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