Mud worshipers gather at Loudy-Simpson Park

In the dwindling hours of Saturday's Mud Splash volleyball tournament, with a slight breeze making it cooler than it should be for anyone covered in mud and water, the Shadow Mountain Wholesaler's team wallowed their way to victory over Darkhorse Liquor's Hog Heaven, ending the rein of the Crawdads.

Though the volleyball tournament was played in mud, in the pits at Loudy-Simpson Park, it was endurance against what lay at the bottom of the mud that won the game.

"You just have to go out there and get your bumps and bruises to win," Shadow Mountain player Trini Loya said. "Right now, my feet are torn up from the bottom of the pits. There's a bunch of holes and rock in them."

With Job-like endurance, 11 teams, all looking to dethrone last year's champions, the Crawdads, slopped through the Mud Splash brackets.

The tournament is a fund-raiser for the Craig Chamber of Commerce, and raised around $500 this year. In the past, the tournament has struggled to meet its goals, so the $500 it raised this year makes it a successful year in the eye of Mud Splash Organizer Charlene Holmberg.

"I think it was a successful year. Everyone seemed to have fun, and I learned a lot about what should be done for next year's Mud Splash," Holmberg said. "Of course, we'd like to have more teams come next year, but we were happy with what we had this year."

This was Holmberg's first year organizing the Mud Splash, and she hopes to increase next year's turnout by starting the whole process earlier next year.

"All the big things pretty much took care of themselves this year. It was just a bunch of little details that crept up and made running the tournament difficult," Holmberg said. "Hopefully, starting earlier next year will eliminate some of those little thing early on."

The Mud Splash was not the only event celebrating the glories of mud Saturday. A mere 200-yards away from the mud volleyball pits, the roar of unadulterated horsepower could be heard reverberating from the twin mud racing pits.

The roar was caused by the hoard of gas-powered mud worshipers that participated in the Mud Run races.

"We had a great turnout this year. Around 50 participants and over 100 spectators showed up for the races," Mud Run promoter Jamie Streeter said. "Usually, we have around 20 to 30 drivers showup for the race. I don't know why we got such a good turnout this year, but for whatever reason I hope it happens again next year."

The Mud Run pits six different classes of vehicles in head-to-head mud drag racing. The six classes were: snowmachine, ATVs, Mini's (which are four and six cylinder vehicles), Stock V8s, Super Stock V8s, and an open class (which is open to any modified vehicles). There was also a Powder Puff class, which was for women only.

In the past, the mud pits have actually been the biggest detriment to a good Mud Run, but not this year, Streeter said.

The pits, which are usually dug out days before the run, have a tendency to develop a rough bottom to them. The rough bottom makes the race harder, if not impossible, to finish.

"This year, instead of digging out the pits, we just added mud," Streeter said. "The bottom stayed real firm, and didn't fallout, but the run was still tough."

The run is a non-profit race, with a portion of the money being rewarded as prizes, and the rest going into management of the pits.

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