Mad about mud

Organizers bracing for big turnout at Mud Madness


Mud Splash and Mud Madness -- two fun-filled events typically hosted on the same day -- may not be paired together this year, but organizers of the truck-racing event are hopeful for a strong turnout nonetheless.

The split of Mud Splash, the annual volleyball tournament, and Saturday's Mud Madness, was unintentional, organizer Kathy Oberwitte said. Mud Splash took place in August.

Oberwitte said the split gives Mud Madness a day all to itself.

"With the speedway closing and the mud volleyball over, we might get a great turnout for the races," Oberwitte said. "It's also past opening day for archery season."

The stars are aligning correctly, she said, and this year's Mud Madness is shaping up to be bigger, better and dirtier than the past.

Featuring classes of racing that begin with snow machines, and progress through four-, six- and eight-cylinder vehicles, the mud should be flying for hours.

The final class to run, or the "open" class, will feature trucks with anything added to their engines. Nitrous-injection systems and blowers are allowed in the open class, which is usually the fastest, loudest and muddiest of the classes.

Registration takes place between 7:30 and 9:30 a.m. Saturday with a drivers meeting to follow. Racing begins at 11 a.m. at Loudy-Simpson Park.

To make the race fair, each driver will be allowed a run in each of the two mud pits. The fastest time or the farthest distance achieved will be the winner in each class.

The $40 entry fee from each racer pays for the winner's prize money. Last year's first place was worth $500.

Winners will be presented with a plaque and a picture of their run through the mud. All racers will receive a T-shirt with this year's logo.

Oberwitte has dedicated the event to her brother, Mike Bai----ley, who passed away in February. Bailey and Ober----witte took over the event three years ago, and the number of participants has been climbing each year.

Fifty-three drivers competed last year, up from 46 in 2004.

Excavation of the pits will begin Thursday. The removed dirt is stockpiled until Friday when it will be returned to the pits. Water from a 3-inch fire hose will help create the mud.

Drivers from Frasier and Montrose have shown interest in this year's race, as well as those from Rawlins, Wyo.

Between the first and second runs, the mud pits will feature the "Dash for Cash," where men and women race through the length of the pit in an attempt to grab a $50 bill waiting for the winner at the finish line.

The Mud Madness event almost didn't happen this year after Oberwitte lost her grandmother and, six weeks later, her brother.

She said that the community pulled together and convinced her that the event should continue as a memorial.

"This year is going to be really special. I'm hoping the community comes out in memory of my brother," Oberwitte said. "And what could be more fun than trucks running through the mud at high speed?"

For information, call Ober--witte at 629-9134.

Dan Olsen can be reached at 824-7031, ext.207, or

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