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Down and dirty

5/9/2008

By WILL MANLY

By WILL MANLY

will@thestironline.com

There was no staying clean. And that's the way they liked it.

More than 100 Fort Hays State students braved sub-summer weather Saturday for the university's Intramurals-Recreation department's 12th annual MudFest.

More than 20 teams -- down from some previous years, because recent days had cooler-than-optimal mud volleyball weather -- participated in MudFest. They played mud volleyball, had a mud flop contest, and competed in tug-o-war. There also was a pedal-powered tractor pull through the muck.

Between a team's matches, participants sitting around the mud-grounds near Gross Memorial Coliseum would pass the time by attempting to wrestle one another into a vacant mudpit. Even the occasional clean bystander was subject to mudding.

"Aw, that sucks," said Ron Haag, intramurals and recreation director at FHSU, expressing sympathy for a previously clean observer who had just been flung into a pool of mud by his already wet and dirty friends.

But most present didn't mind getting dirty -- that seemed to be the idea.

"They have a good time," Haag said. "It's a lot of fun."

Organizers filled big blue tubs with hot water so participants could climb in and keep warm -- it was in the 60s at noon, and the event started at 8:30 a.m. when it was even cooler.

"It's not bad when you're playing, it's when you stop and get out that it gets cold," Haag said.

The last few MudFests have all been played in cold weather, it seems.

"A couple of years ago it snowed on us," Haag said.

Money raised through participation fees and concession sales goes to help someone in need. This year's benefactors are Pete Brownell, the grandfather of an intramurals staff member, and Lolita Schwartzkopf, the wife of an intramurals referee, both of whom are ill.