Events draw big crowds to park, leave no one clean
Randall Brown didn’t come to play this year’s Mud Splash volleyball tournament. He just wanted to see his friends take nosedives into the dirt.
“I’m sitting there thinking, ‘This is the biggest redneck game I’ve ever seen,'” he said. “I was laughing the whole time.”
Most people who came out for Saturday’s mud events at Loudy-Simpson Park were, as well. Mud Splash volleyball and Mud Madness pit runs drew big crowds to the park, and no one left clean.
“It’s just fun to watch people play in the mud, is the No. 1 thing,” Madness spectator Gerald Brenner of Steamboat Springs said. “Horsepower is cool, too.”
This was Kathy Oberwitte’s second year organizing the event with her brother, Mike Bailey. Bailey and her husband, Richard, have been competing in the mud runs for many years.
Oberwitte said her romance with Richard began in the 1980s, thanks to Mud Madness. Both were seeing other people, but he flirted with her on a dare.
“He carried me over to the pit and threw me in,” she said, “and it’s been true love ever since.”
So it seemed natural for her to take over the event, which asks drivers to run their vehicles through two long pits that required more than 10 hours each to prepare.
“They’re basically competing for time or distance,” Oberwitte said. “If they don’t make it all the way through, we measure distance.”
She was pleased with this year’s participant turnout, as there were 56 entrants over last year’s 43.
“I’d say a little more than half were from Craig,” she said. “But the rest of them were traveling quite a ways.”
However, attendance was down to 485 from last year’s 600. She attributes this to people sneaking in the back of the event and those attending the Hayden Speedway’s Modified Madness event Saturday night.
The Craig Chamber of Commerce’s Mud Splash volleyball game across the park had fewer teams this year. Eight groups competed for trophies, down from last year’s 13.
“Though we were down on teams, enthusiasm was probably at an all-time high,” Chamber board president Christina Currie said. “It’s great to see that.”
Tanya Ferguson of the Jack E. Paulson Trcuking team, which took second place, was one of those excited players.
“It’s a blast,” she said. “It’s something you don’t do every day, so it’s fun.”
The fourth-year participant shared Currie’s sentiments about the 2005 event.
“It doesn’t seem like there are as many teams as in years past,” Ferguson said, “but it seems like the ones who are here are the ones who have had the most fun in the past.”
Brent Suppes of Brighton, a Mud Madness competitor, said fun is what mud events are all about.
“I enjoy doing this,” he said. “We get to get dirty and act like kids again.”
Michelle Perry may be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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