What happens when you mix gallons and gallons of water with dirt, add mud hills, rope swings, warm temps and bright sunshine? Lots and lots of kids show up, ready to get dirty! It’s called Mudstock and it is an annual event held in Carthage, MO. Sponsored by The Alliance of Southwest Missouri , Mudstock celebrated its 15th year today. It was a perfect summer-like day for mudslinging, water sloshing and great fun, all at no charge.
I had the pleasure of attending Mudstock for the first time, accompanying my daughter-in-law Megan, grandsons Joey and Oliver and one of their friends, and Megan’s friend Rebeckah and her daughter Karleigh. Participants are required to wear shirts, shorts, socks and shoes…no sandals allowed. I soon saw why! The mud pulls on the shoes as the kids and adults slog through, and flip flops and sandals would be pulled from their feet within moments. In fact, to prevent the loss of sneakers, each child has their shoes duct taped to their ankles.
I was not quite dressed properly for this event. Because I was intending to show a house immediately after Mudstock, I wore socks and sneakers, with a change of shoes in the car, and rolled up jeans. I tried to pick my way carefully around the old airport grounds that plays host to Mudstock and finally just gave up and waded through streams and puddles of muddy water. Although I remained cleaner than most, I still ended up with soaked shoes and splatters of mud on my lower legs, jeans, and even on my arms and shirt. Ah well, clothes and skin wash. I had fun watching the kids slip and slide through the mud and water and the occasional splash was well worth it.
Set up as an obstacle course, the kids enter by swinging out on a rope and dropping into the muddy water below. I smiled as child after child courageously entered the course. Most loved it, once they got past the initial drop and the idea that they were going to get really, really dirty and wet. A few, little girls primarily, decided they would NOT embrace that idea and climbed out, preferring to play in the shallow water that accumulated along the edges of the field.
The Carthage Fire Department was present, a hose attached to a tall truck ladder, raining down fresh water on the field and the participants. On this hot, muggy day that water felt great! Large metal stock tanks, filled with water, provided a place to rinse off after frolicking in the mud. A fireman stood with water blasting from a fire hose, further sluicing the mud from squealing kids.
I had to laugh at the joy exhibited by most of the children and quite a few of the adults. I’ve never seen so many muddy, happy faces. There is something very liberating about being allowed to play in the mud, without concern about getting dirty. Joey, Oliver and Karleigh were among those happy kids, swinging with ease out over the water and crawling, jumping and rolling through the mud. What an amazing community to create such a great event, encouraging kids to get dirty on the outside while staying clean (free from drugs) on the inside.
Several people that walked by invited me to join in. It looked so fun, I was tempted. Next year, I will make sure that I don’t have an appointment afterward, dress appropriately, and be willing to get muddy, observing from the sidelines. Or, perhaps I’ll jump right in.