Muddy fun raises funds
MONROETON - For 16-year-old Shannon Raezer of Ulster, competing in mud bog competitions is a family affair.
Raezer, along with her 26-year-old sister, Heather, and 19-year-old sister, Hope, were all vying for trophies and cash prizes in Saturday's Mountaineer Mud Bog competition at Mountaineer Park in Monroeton.
Even Shannon Raezer's 63-year-old grandmother Ruth Raezer of Ulster was competing in the mud bog, Shannon Raezer said.
"I did it once before," Ruth Raezer said. "I'm not very good."
Ruth Raezer said she was competing to show support for her grandchildren who were participating in the event.
The mud bog competition, where operators of pickup trucks, SUVs, ATVs and other vehicles competed to see who could travel the furthest and fastest through a 100-foot-long muddy course, was one of the main attractions at the Monroe Hose Company's Old Home Days, a four-day fair at Mountaineer Park that wrapped up Saturday.
There was good attendance at the fair this year, which also featured a parade, carnival rides, games, live music, a variety of food, and more, said Ron McNeal, president of the fire company.
Unlike in past years, the fair had no fireworks display this year, due to its high cost, he said.
The fireworks display usually costs $3,000, he said.
"That's $3,000 that we could use toward equipment," he said. "Every dollar matters."
Chris Donovan of Franklin Township, who was one of the organizers of the mug bog, estimated that it attracted at least 1,500 viewers this year.
"It's an adrenaline rush," Shannon Raezer said about participating in mud bog competitions. "The community loves (watching) it. It is really fun."
She said her family has a mud bog pit on their property in Ulster, which is used by family members, neighbors and friends.
At Saturday's mud bog, the dirt course was turned into mud by mixing in 8,000 to 10,000 gallons of water, which was provided by the fire company, Donovan said.
"I don't know if anyone is going to make it the whole way" to the end of the course, due to the wet conditions, Lt. Duane Meeker of the Monroe Hose Company said after the first few drivers were unable to complete the course, instead becoming stuck part-way through. But Meeker added that he liked the course conditions just the way they were.
One vehicle that did make it the whole way was a snowmobile operated by Larry Bartholomew of Franklindale.
Bartholomew said the course was no challenge for him. Snowmobiles, if they travel fast enough, can ride over water without sinking, he said.
If no driver in a particular class of vehicles completed the course, the driver who made it the furthest was the winner.
If two or more drivers in a particular class of vehicle succeeded in reaching the end of the course, the driver who traveled through the course the fastest would be declared the winner.
All of the proceeds from Saturday's mud bog - which will amount to thousands of dollars - will be donated to the Monroe Hose Company, Donovan said.
Saturday's mud bog "was fun for the kids. They really enjoyed it," said Misti Jackson of Monroeton, who was at the event with two children, ages 5 and 1.
Donovan and Meeker said the mud bog course will remain permanently in place at Mountaineer Park.
The organizers of the 2014 Mountaineer Mud Bog plan to hold another mud bog at the same site on Oct. 5, which will raise money to fight breast cancer, Donovan said. The proceeds of the Oct. 5 mud bog will be donated to the Susan G. Komen foundation, McNeal said.
James Loewenstein can be reached at (570) 265-1633; or email: email@example.com.