6/7: Enjoy dirty fun at Mighty Mud Mania in Scottsdale

Terry Erickson has a system for Mighty Mud Mania. She tosses four pairs of extra sneakers into her car and arrives at the mud course at midnight the night before. Erickson, Scottsdale’s parks and recreation manager, has been working on Mighty Mud Mania since it began, so she has the procedure down pat.

But there’s a soggy monkey wrench this year. Erickson will have at least one rotation in a charity dunk tank.

“I pretty much have to do it,” Erickson said of the dunk tank, because other city officials, including Mayor Jim Lane and City Manager Fritz Behring, have agreed to participate. “The good thing is we’re going to do it for Scottsdale Cares.”

Mighty Mud Mania is in its 39th year, and organizers have managed to make improvements along the way. For example, on the main obstacle course, tubes have been replaced with a longer slide-type tube, which shoots competitors face-first into about 4 feet of mud.

“We’ve improved it,” said Daniel Miller, a recreation leader for Scottsdale who oversees special events.

In addition, the Mudville town for the smallest mud fans has been moved to improve accessibility and flow, Miller said, and the extreme course will include a new, inflatable obstacle. The dunk tank will add a new flavor to this year’s festivities, and the water inside it won’t be clean.

“Since it’s Mighty Mud Mania, we have to make everything a little dirty,” he said.

It’s fair to say Mighty Mud Mania served as a pioneer for today’s now-popular competitive mud runs and obstacle courses. What began as a “get dirty” event sponsored by the laundry-stain remover Shout has evolved and grown over the years to give the timid, the daring, the old and the young inspired ways to have fun in the mud without the pressure of physical fitness.

Erickson raced her mother on one of the courses last year.

“I beat her butt big-time,” she said, laughing.

Every year, Erickson collects evidence that proves how much fun everyone had. As one could imagine, countless shoes are left behind in mud pits and throughout obstacle courses. The mud is just so sticky. She collects the shoes, rinses them, lets them dry at her house and waits to see if someone calls looking for them.

“I swear, a ton of them were mine,” Erickson said.

Despite the laborious planning, the sleepless night the day before, the need for extra sneakers and the possibility of losing some, Erickson relishes planning and playing at Mighty Mud Mania.

“This is my baby. I love this event,” she said. “I’m not sure why. I just love it. It’s so cool to see the kids really, really having fun.”

Mighty Mud Mania

When: 7:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, June 7.

Where: Chaparral Park, 5401 N. Hayden Road, Scottsdale.

Admission: Free, but non-perishable food donations are requested. $10 to participate in the extreme course for adults.

Details: 480-312-2771. Lace-up shoes are required.

Article source: http://www.azcentral.com/story/entertainment/events/2014/06/06/mighty-mud-mania-scottsdale/10092347/