MudWars Gets Dirty for Charity

Chris Harkness, Tess Talokonnikoff, Milo Talokonnikoff, Lindsay Kilby and Robert Shreffler tug their way to a win during a round of tug-of-war Saturday. 

We’ve got about 20 tons of dirt, equal to 23 dump trucks,” said Ian Elston, director of Tampa Bay Club Sport. Twenty tons of dirt turned into wet, sticky, squishy mud set the stage at Lake Vista Park in St. Petersburg for Saturday, July 14’s Extreme MudWars, a sports competition that’s been sweating, running, climbing and donating to charity since 2009. 

The competitive sports event pits teams or 6 to 10 adults head to head in multiple muddy events. Saturday’s games included an obstacle course with water slide, volleyball, tug of war, football and jousting while sitting on a platform over an above-ground swimming pool. All teams compete in each of the eight events at least once, and prizes for first, second and third place were awarded at the end of the day. 

Tampa Bay Club Sport put on the competition in conjunction with America II Electronics. The two companies paired up with a list of sponsors this year, including BayCare, the Sirata Beach Resort and the Tampa Bay Rowdies in order to make a donation to four entities: Hands4Hope, the Marine Exploration Center, TASCO, and the city of St. Petersburg. 

Sid Jarrett, 5 plays in the mud before watching his mom compete in a muddy volleyball match.

Proceeds from alcohol sales at Extreme MudWars is divided amongst the four groups. TASCO and the city of St. Petersburg use the donation to put on a similar mud event for teens each year. 

TASCO stands for Teen Arts, Sports, and Cultural Opportunities and is responsible for teen programming through St. Petersburg Parks and Recreation. Money raised at Extreme MudWars helps the city offset costs for the teen version of the event, TASCO Teen Mud Wars, which celebrates it’s 18th anniversary this year. On Thursday, July 19, at Lake Vista Park, teens will compete on teams of 12 in mud-ridden obstacles for a chance to win $500 and trophies. 

“It means a lot to us to have these donations,” said Yoser Pacheco, supervisor at TASCO. “The money donated to us really helps us put the event together and cover the expenses.” 

Keith Oxford dashes through the mud to complete an obstacle course race during Saturday’s Mud Wars. “I’ve been doing this for six years,” said Oxford. “I just love the competition.”


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