Gettin’ dirty

Plans in place to host in­au­gu­ral Mud Fest in Grand Falls-Wind­sor

The Southern Gazette - - SPORTS - BY MATT MOLLOY TC COM­MU­NITY NEWS­PA­PERS

If ev­ery­thing goes ac­cord­ing to plan, mud will fran­ti­cally fling from truck, ATV and dirt bike tires in early June in Grand Falls-Wind­sor.

That was the goal from a meet­ing at the Mount Pey­ton Ho­tel Apr. 2 to dis­cuss the in­au­gu­ral Mud Fest event, which or­ga­niz­ers hope will take place June 6-7 at the site of a fu­ture la­goon near Scott Av­enue.

The meet­ing, which was hosted by the town’s de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer, Gary Hennessey, drew just over a dozen people.

How­ever, ac­cord­ing to Hennessey, dis­cus­sions about the event got started long be­fore last week.

“We had some in­for­mal dis­cus­sions over the win­ter about it, and we got to­gether a few months ago to talk about it more se­ri­ously. About three weeks ago we had a small meet­ing at the Joe Byrne with people who were in­ter­ested in see­ing this come to­gether.”

Hennessey said even though there was just a small group of people at the re­cent meet­ing, oth­ers have in­di­cated in­ter­est and let him know they wouldn’t be able to at­tend the meet­ing.

Hennessey seemed op­ti­mistic that the event would not only go ahead in June, but that it would also thrive and at least match the Mud­din’ Mayhem event that was part of Quad-A-Palooza event in Gan­der last Septem­ber.

That was strictly an ATV event and Jamie Mar­shall, who par­tic­i­pated in the Gan­der event, be­lieves Mud Fest can do a few things dif­fer­ently to sep­a­rate it­self from Mud­din’ Mayhem and Quad-A-Palooza.

In fact, Mar­shall was the per­son who ap­proached Hennessey about host­ing Mud Fest.

“I love the out­doors and wanted to try and get some­thing else go­ing here that would bring people in from the St. John’s area and every­where across the prov­ince.

“We would like to try and ex­pand from just quads, and push it to in­clude trucks and dirt bikes, and add dif­fer­ent el­e­ments to it.”

Along with in­clud­ing trucks and dirt bikes, other ideas were dis­cussed at the Apr. 2 meet­ing, in­clud­ing hav­ing a drag­ging com­pe­ti­tion, strap tow­ing (tug-of-war), and a safety train­ing ses­sion.

Hennessey fran­ti­cally wrote down the ideas as they were be­ing dis­cussed, and be­lieves the proper in­gre­di­ents are in place to put off one of the dirt­i­est events cen­tral New­found­land has ever seen.

“We’re look­ing at this as an an­nual event. We’re look­ing at this to com­pli­ment the Gan­der event be­cause Gan­der’s is in Septem­ber. We ab­so­lutely think there’s room for it and we can show­case the two largest com­mu­ni­ties in cen­tral, and cen­tral New­found­land as a whole.

“We want to put our­selves on the map with Mud Fest as an­other rea­son to come to Grand Falls-Wind­sor.”

He pointed out the town has put it­self on the map with the Sal­mon Fes­ti­val and he be­lieves it can be­come renowned with in the same way with the ATV/truck/dirt bike event.

“In the mid­dle of July, all you have to say is ‘Sal­mon Fes­ti­val’, and it’s get­ting to the point where all of At­lantic Canada thinks of Grand Falls-Wind­sor. At some point - and we’re only in the in­fancy stages and haven’t even had the event yet - five or six years down the road when you men­tion Mud Fest, we want people to say they can’t wait to get to Grand Falls-Wind­sor.”

Mar­shall and many oth­ers hope the event is as suc­cess­ful as Hennessey be­lieves it can be.

In fact, Mar­shall said it’s en­tirely pos­si­ble more people would be at­tracted to such an event than many people might think.

“I be­lieve we would get more people here for an event like this than you think. It’s go­ing to be a re­ally good event, and some­thing people won’t want to miss. Mud­din’ Mayhem in Gan­der was a re­ally good time ... and I can’t wait for this year, ac­tu­ally, be­cause I’m go­ing back again.”

Or­ga­niz­ers of the Grand Falls-Wind­sor event will have to over­come a few ob­sta­cles, but Hennessey doesn’t be­lieve that will stand in their way.

One of the ma­jor con­cerns ex­pressed at the most re­cent meet­ing was proper ac­cess from lo­cal ho­tels to the site of the event.

Grand Falls-Wind­sor, un­like Gan­der, doesn’t have trails that run through­out the en­tire com­mu­nity. So get­ting to and from the Mud Fest site on an ATV will be an is­sue to sort out, Hennessey ac­knowl­edged.

“Be­cause of the fact the town is go­ing to take the lead on this, and we con­trol or over­see the in­fra­struc­ture of the town, we can make things hap­pen that other groups prob- ably couldn’t, and in a quicker way.

“We’ll work with the our mu­nic­i­pal po­lice depart­ment and the RCMP, and look at ways to de­velop and de­sign routes around town to get people from point A to point B.

“At the end of the day, we want people com­ing here, stay­ing here, and spend­ing money here. There’s no point in do­ing that if you can’t put them here. We’re go­ing to make it hap­pen, and it’s some­thing we don’t think will be a big is­sue.”

Hennessey planned to fol­low up with an­other meet­ing last week with those who showed in­ter­est in the pro­posed event.

Come June, he hopes the site of the fu­ture la­goon, which he es­ti­mated to be about eight soc­cer fields long, will be ab­so­lutely plas­tered in mud.

“I think that site will work. It’s down by the river, which is a bonus be­cause ... Gorge Park is right next to it and Sanger Me­mo­rial RV Park is right next to it, so it all com­pli­ments each other.

“It’s beau­ti­ful scenery, and people can go up in the woods on their quads on a Satur­day morn­ing they’re go­ing to see things they haven’t seen be­fore. They’re go­ing to see na­ture at its best.”

Grand Falls-Wind­sor Ad­ver­tiser

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