Doing the dirty work

Preparing for Saturday's Mud Madness

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Kathy Oberwitte of Craig spent Thursday making a mud pit in Loudy-Simpson Park. She plans to spend today making another one.

She's doing it in preparation for Moffat County Mud Madness on Saturday. Contestants in the mud racing event will attempt to drive their vehicles across two 200-foot long pits filled with three feet of mud.

The competition is something of a tradition that's been handed off between social groups in Craig for the past 15 years, Oberwitte said. Along with her husband, Richard, and Mike Bailey of Craig, plus the help of 24 volunteers running time clocks, tractors, tape measures and gate admission, this is her first attempt to organize the event.

"We know what kind of potential it has from what it's done before," Kathy Oberwitte said, referring to the days a decade ago when the Coors Extra Gold Monster Truck would make an appearance at the event.

The event will open with a snowmobile race. Other contestant classes are divided among four-, six-, and eight-cylinder engines.

Then there's an open class for the trucks Oberwitte called "the big boys." Those are the drivers with blowers, nitrous, alcohol or turbo-enhanced engines.

Most drivers build special rigs for mud racing. Indeed, there's even a subculture that lives for mud racing, Oberwitte said, and some of these drivers plan to compete in Mud Madness with their superpower trucks. She's heard from drivers from the Front Range, Gunnison, Parachute, and Rawlins, Wyo., who plan to attend.

The drivers will draw poker chips to determine their order, and they'll get one run through each pit. The fastest time wins, unless no one make it through the pit. Then the longest distance wins.

First- through third-place finishers win a trophy, and the number of entries determines the purse, Oberwitte said.

Spectators can sign a waive to race on foot in the dash for cash. Whoever makes it across the pit and back fastest wins the cash.

The Special Olympics of Craig will sell refreshments at Mud Madness. All proceeds will go to the Special Olympics to send members to Nagano, Japan.

Spectator admission is $7 for adults, $3 for youths 7 to 12, and children 6 and younger get in for free.

Mud Madness is part of a muddy day at Loudy-Simpson Park. The Craig Chamber of Commerce is hosting Mud Splash, a mud volleyball tournament ,at 10 a.m.

Rob Gebhart can be reached at 824-7031 or rgebhart@craigdailypress.com.

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