OURAY COUNTY – Are you ready to play dirty? The second annual Ouray County Mud Fest takes place this Saturday and Sunday, April 27 and 28, at the Ouray County Fairgrounds. The festival, sponsored by the Ouray Chamber Resort Association and the Ridgway Area Chamber of Commerce, provides bountiful opportunities for locals and visitors to compete and play in the abundance of glorious Ouray County mud.
There will be 4X4 competitions on a custom-built obstacle course and 30-foot-long mud pit, freestyle motocross demos, a high-octane NSPA-sanctioned truck pull, plus the inaugural Mud Fest 5K, mud volleyball, mud tug o’ war, mud horseshoes and a host of clean and dirty kid-friendly activities including a giant bouncy house. There will even be a shower tent where you can rinse the mud off (with warm water!) before heading home.
Thunder Mountain raceway, which emcees the event, will be bringing in about half a dozen race cars that will be on display throughout the weekend, and offer half-price entry to its own events all summer long to Mud Fest attendees who show their wristband.
Organizers say it will be the largest event ever to hit Ouray County. That goes for the projected size of the crowd, which could number in the thousands (organizers have ordered 5,000 tickets for the event: 3,000 for Saturday and 2,000 for Sunday), as well as the size of the machinery that will be roaring through the mud at the Ouray County Fairgrounds. Sunday’s highly anticipated truck pull sponsored by Alpine-Offroad could see up to 50 semi-sized behemoths.
Over the past week, the fairgrounds arena has been transformed into a squelchy, swampy obstacle course in preparation for the 4X4 assault this weekend.
“The course is coming along,” said Ouray Chamber Resort Association board of directors president Tamara Gulde approvingly on Tuesday this week. “It will be ready.” Gulde, who is herself an avid and fearless 4X4 enthusiast, will be heading down to the fairgrounds with some friends on Friday for a test run.
While pre-registration for the 4X4 events has been on the slow side, Gulde said that she and her fellow Mud Fest organizers are not concerned. “We know a lot of people are coming,” she said. The Mud Fest Facebook page is sloshing with enthusiasm from 4X4 groups across Colorado and neighboring states, and the radio airwaves in Montrose, Grand Junction and beyond are bogged down with news of the event.
It is important to point out that the Ouray County Mud Fest is an all-weather event. That means, it’s going to happen – “snain” or shine. Luckily, the weekend forecast calls for warm, sunny weather – and plenty of mud.
It all gets underway this Friday night at the Mud Jam Ball, a pre-registration bash held at the Ouray Community Center from 4-8 p.m. Dance to live music with the David Starr Band of Cedaredge, and take advantage of the chance to pre-register for the 4X4 Mud Fest events and Sunday morning’s inaugural Mud Fest 5K, a fun foot race that concludes with a slog through the mud at the fairgrounds. Plus, there will be door prizes and other promotional products from both regional and national off-road accessory vendors, and a chance to buy raffle tickets for this year’s OCRA raffle jeep.
Entry to the Mud Jam Ball is $5 for adults and children are free. Beer and wine will be available for purchase with proceeds benefiting the second annual Mountain Air Music Series.
Advance tickets for the 2013 Ouray County Mud Fest are available at the Ouray Visitors Center and the Ouray County 4-H Event Center at the fairgrounds in Ridgway, as well as at Friday’s Mud Jam event. A detailed schedule of events happening at the fairgrounds on Saturday and Sunday is available on OCRA’s website, ouraycolorado.com.
Mud Fest organizers are still looking for more volunteers to fill three-hour slots this weekend particularly on Sunday. To sign up, call OCRA at 970/325-4746 or visit volunteerspot.com to pick out an assignment. Three hours of volunteering earns you a t-shirt and a ticket to attend one day of the event.
Second Annual Ouray County Mud Fest All-Weather Events
Friday, April 26: Mud Jam, 4-8 p.m. at the Ouray Community Center
$5 adults/ kids 17 & under free
• Featuring the David Starr Band
• Wine, beer and beverage proceeds benefit the June 2013 Mountain Air Music Series
• Registration and packet/credential pick up for 4x4 Events (obstacle course & mud runs),
• Mud Fest tickets for sale
• Mud Fest 5K registration
• Launch of the 49th Annual Jeep Raffle!
Saturday, April 27: Mud Fest, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Ouray County Fairgrounds
$10/adult; $5/student (5-17); kids under 5 are free
• 9 a.m. Driver’s Meeting
• 9:15 a.m. Color Guard & Pledge of Allegiance (Girl Scouts)
• 9:20 a.m. National Anthem (Koree Schmidt solo)
• 9:25 a.m. Introduction of Honorary Grand Marshals
• 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Family Activities sponsored by Colorado National Guard, Ridgway Volunteer Fire Department, Ouray Volunteer Fire Department, Thunder Mountain Raceway, Ridgway Area Chamber of Commerce and more. Vendor area opens.
• 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 4X4 Events (obstacle course and mud runs)
$35 one event/$50 two events (pre-registration)
$40 one event/$60 two events (day-of-registration)
• 12:30 p.m. Warrior Promotions Motorcycle Exhibition (First)
• 2:30 p.m. Warrior Promotions Motorcycle Exhibition (Second)
Sunday, April 28: Mud Fest, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Ouray County Fairgrounds
$10/adult; $5/student (5-17); kids under 5 are free
• 8-9 a.m. Mud Fest 5K, starts and ends at Ouray County Fairgrounds; $25/runner; benefits Ouray County Fairgrounds Restoration, race entry fee includes admission to Sunday’s Mud Fest events.
• 9-10 a.m. Buggy Exhibition (Rockworx); Vendor area opens.
• 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Family Activities sponsored by Colorado National Guard, Ridgway Fire Department, Ouray Fire Department, Thunder Mountain Raceway, Ridgway Area Chamber of Commerce and more.
• 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 4X4 Event Finals
• 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 4X4 Sled Pull Competition (Alpine Offroad & Performance); contact Terry Hawkins firstname.lastname@example.org, 970-240-9000 to register.
• 4-5 p.m. Trophy/Award Presentations at Ouray County 4-H Event Center patio.
Mud Fest 5K
The 2013 Ouray County Race Series has a new addition: the Mud Fest 5K. The inaugural race takes place this Sunday morning, April 28, bright and early at 8 a.m., kicking off the day’s festivities at the Ouray County fairgrounds.
This fun, scenic point to point course begins at Hartwell Park in downtown Ridgway and ends at the Ouray County Fairgrounds, taking in parts of the Uncompahgre River Trail and Rollins Park along the way.
To be considered for prizes (the trophies are really neat), finishers must slog through a mud pit at the end of the race.
Prizes go to the top five male and female finishers; there are no age groups. The entry fee is $25 in advance and $30 on race day. There will be a registration booth for the Mud Fest 5K at this Friday’s Mud Jam Ball at the Ouray Community Center, or register online at ouraycolorado.com.
Now in its third year, the Ouray County Race Series offers a varied menu of seven local foot races from April through October. The entire 2013 series is comprised of the following events:
• April 28 – Mud Fest 5K (Ridgway)
• May 27 – Compassion 5K (Ouray)
• June 15 – Trail Town 10 Miler (Ridgway)
• July 4 – Ourayce 10K (Ouray)
• Aug. 10 – Mt Sneffels Marathon/Half Marathon
• Sept. 28 – Ouray Mountain Trail Run
• Oct. 19 – Rhythm Run 10K/5K
Last year, 12 hardy runners completed the whole series. Runners who complete all seven of this year’s events, or who run in six of them and volunteer in the seventh, get an embroidered technical running jacket at the end of the season, said series director John Ferguson.
The Mt. Sneffels Marathon and Half-Marathon, held annually in August is the most popular race in the series; it has grown into quite a destination run, especially since adding a full marathon component several years ago, and may prove even more popular this year with twice as much prize money at stake for both men and women.
Over 200 runners have already registered for this year’s event. “The marathon is growing,” Ferguson said. “What’s cool is that they are coming from all over the U.S. We are pushing 200 entries at this point, and hoping to keep going.”
For more information, visit the Mt. Sneffels Marathon website, mtsneffelsmarathon.com, which has a page dedicated to the Ouray County Race Series.